REVIEW+PHOTOS+VIDS: Raphael Saadiq | “Generations of Soul” | Mack Sennett Studios | 4/2/15

Concerts, Pictorials | Videos, Reviews

E&J Brandy is America’s most awarded brandy. Celebrating their 40th anniversary, they’ve embarked on a “Generations of Soul” campaign featuring the musical talents of Raphael Saadiq, BJ the Chicago Kid and Lee Fields. We were able to attend their private concert at Mack Sennett Studios on 4/2/15 and Raphael Saadiq gave a performance that embodied what modern soul music is all about. 

REVIEW+PHOTOS: BJ The Chicago Kid | “Generations of Soul” | Mack Sennett Studios | 4/2/15

Concerts, Pictorials | Videos, Reviews

E&J Brandy is America’s most awarded brandy. Celebrating their 40th anniversary, they’ve embarked on a “Generations of Soul” campaign featuring the musical talents of Raphael Saadiq, BJ the Chicago Kid and Lee Fields. We were able to attend their private concert at Mack Sennett Studios on 4/2/15 and BJ The Chicago Kid gave a performance that surely won over many a new fans.

Shy Girls | Park Plaza Hotel | Red Bull Sound Select’s “30 Days In LA” | 11/23/14 [Review & Photos]

Concerts, Pictorials | Videos, Reviews

To Check Out Other Bands We Caught During Red Bull Sound Selects “30 Days In LA” CLICK HERE

THE ACT: Shy Girls | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS:

I’m a sucker for new R&B music. When I heard KCRW play Shy Girls’ Shy Girls’ “Voyeur’s Gaze” on Morning Becomes Eclectic in 2013, I was hooked. When I saw that they were opening for a band named Phosphorescent, I immediately bought a ticket. I had no idea about the headlining act, but that didn’t matter. It had been close to a year since I saw them perform, and I was jonesing to see them perform again.

The performance was short, but it was everything that I anticipated: smooth vocals over a tight knit band playing music with an 80s and early 90s R&B vibe.

The first two times I saw Shy Girls perform live, they didn’t play the song that hooked me in the first place, “Voyeur’s Gaze”. When I had asked them about why didn’t perform that song since it was the song that KCRW decided to spin, they indicated that the arrangement was a bit too complex for them to play live. They remedied the omission this time around and it was, to my complete satisfaction, performed as a song in the middle of their set.

Apparently, I was the only one in the audience excited to hear the tune. Instinctually, I yelped out a very audible, “Yes,” when the opening vocals and keyboard chord progression were played. I got a few giggles from some of the audience members around me, and under my breath, but audible, I felt it necessary to qualify my blurt with, “Can’t help it, it’s my favorite song of theirs.”

I soon realized that the crowd wasn’t here to listen to Shy Girls smooth R&B jams. I further deduced that headlining act’s style of music was at the opposite side of the spectrum because if the audience wasn’t feeling what Shy Girls was putting forth on stage that night … well, they were here for something else.

And it’s a bit of a shame. Shy Girls is a Red Bull Sound Select artist. I would have thought that Red Bull, the host of the concert series, could have done a better job at procuring a line-up that was more consistent. I went to the Chet Faker 30 Days In LA show later in the month, and I can easily say that Shy Girls would have KILLED IT if they were one of the opening acts for that evening’s music. In fact, switching James Supercave from the Chet Faker night, with Shy Girls would have been my choice.

The highlight of the evening was when Shy Girls’ covered Brandy’s “Sittin’ Up In My Room” (a demo recording of which is above). It was simple and sublime. It was a performance of an R&B classic that anybody with an inkling of appreciation for type of R&B music would have loved. I just wish more people could have truly appreciated it.

VIDEOS: The Instagram videos that I uploaded somehow got corrupted. 😦

PHOTOS:

To Check Out Other Bands We Caught During Red Bull Sound Selects “30 Days In LA” CLICK HERE

Charles Bradley | Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier 9/11/14 [Photos]

Concerts

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!

Charles Bradley loves everybody. Charles Bradley loves you. Charles Bradley loves me. And you know what? I love Charles Bradley. I love his spirit. I love his passion. I love his music. I won’t wax poetic about how much I his music moves my soul (I’ve already done that here and here), but I will say that if anybody is the “Soul of America” incarnate, it’s that man. Mr. Charles Bradley.

 

After he closed the Twilight Concert Series with a rousing performance of “Why Is It So Hard”, I went backstage with the hopes of getting him to sign a copy of a limited edition LP I had in my collection. As luck would have it, he was greeting some fans after his so I made my way towards him and asked him if he would do me the honor of signing my album.

 

His eyes widened with a sparkle of surprise and he exclaimed, “Even I haven’t seen this record!” I went on to tell him how I first saw him at FYF and also shot him at The Fonda, and he asked me for my name, proclaiming that he would try not to forget it. With nothing left to say, I simply said, “I love you, Mr Bradley,” reaching my hand out for a hand shake. He pulled me in for a hug, wrapping me in his arms and said, “I love you too, Derrick. Thank you.”

 

Getting a hug from the The Soul of America? No better way to end a concert series. Thank you Mr. Bradley. I can’t wait to hear what music you’ve got coming for us fans next.

 

CLICK HERE to put a little soul, and love, in your heart with some video clips of Charles Bradley at the Santa Monica Pier.

 

Snarky Puppy | The Troubadour | 8/2/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

Ever since Snarky Puppy beat my favorite neo-soul band of 2013, Hiatus Kaiyote for the Best R&B Performance Grammy this year, I had to look them up and figure out who they were.

I’ll admit … the first video clip  supporting their release of “Family Dinner- Volume 1”. It was Lalah Hathaway singing a song titled “Something” … and she harmonized with herself… let me say that again … SHE HARMONIZED WITH HERSELF!!!

That video was mind blowing, and I’ll have to admit the music, separate from the mind-blowing vocal gymnastics performed by Lalah, was pretty damn good.

Based out of New York, the band is led by Michael League, a Grammy Award-winning bassist. It’s players are part of collective that features nearly 40 musicians. They affectionately refer to themselves as “The Farm” and for this evening, they had 9 of them play at The Troubadour.

With the 10 players cramped on the stage, their music, which is a fusion of jazz, rock and funk, was loud and funky. I won’t lie, though … if you were hoping for some vocalists to jump onto the stage to join them for a song or two, you would have been disappointed. It was an all instrumental set with only the audience singing along with the chants on a song … the name of which totally escapes me, but you can see the video below.

I’m not one to complain though. When you have that many talented musicians on stage, it’s easy for me to get lost in some robust, Grammy Award winning music.

Lecrae | BET Experience: Music Matters | 6/29/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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On the second day of the BET Experience at L.A. Live, I decided to watch the various acts performing on the main stage of the convention center. Each of the acts performed short sets to give the audience a sampling of what their music was all about.

The last act I was able to catch at the BET Experience music festival was Lecrae; a Christian rapper who has amassed quite a loyal fan base through his crunk beats and his verses on Christ.

With a new album scheduled for release on September 9th, his 7th album titled “Anomoly”, there little doubt that he will soon be charting on Billboard’s Gospel Albums chart before the year’s end.

Check out Lecrae’s Facebook page to keep up with her music. CLICK HERE to get redirected to Facebook.

CLICK HERE to check out a collection of Instagram videos of most, if not all, of the songs Lecrae performed at this concert.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

Roman GianArthur | BET Experience: Music Matters | 6/29/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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On the second day of the BET Experience at L.A. Live, I decided to watch the various acts performing on the main stage of the convention center. Each of the acts performed short sets to give the audience a sampling of what their music was all about.

The third act I was able to catch was Roman GianArthur; a singer-songwriter who is a member of Janelle Monae‘s Wondaland Arts Society collective. His performance was quite impressive. His music was an infusion of soul and funk, reminiscent of Stevie Wonder (he did cover “Superstition”) and D’Angelo. His guitar skills were on point, and the way he played reminded be a bit of Prince.

Charismatic and skillful, his set really opened my eyes. He’s definitely someone I’ll be keeping tabs on. Check out Roman’s Facebook page to keep up with his music. CLICK HERE to get redirected to Facebook.

CLICK HERE to check out a collection of Instagram videos of most, if not all, of the songs Roman GianArthur performed at this concert.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

Jonathan McReynolds | BET Experience: Music Matters | 6/29/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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On the second day of the BET Experience at L.A. Live, I decided to watch the various acts performing on the main stage of the convention center. Each of the acts performed short sets to give the audience a sampling of what their music was all about.

The second act I was able to catch was Jonathan McReynolds; a contemporary gospel artist who ministers through music. His music is a fusion of R&B, jazz and gospel.

His set seemed shorter than the others, but he was still able to able to touch the audience with his message and, as he joked, made them feel okay about missing church that Sunday.

Check out Jonathan’s Facebook page to keep up with his music. CLICK HERE to get redirected to Facebook.

CLICK HERE to check out a collection of Instagram videos of most, if not all, of the songs Jonathan McReynolds performed at this concert.

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

LiV Warfield | BET Experience: Centric Certified | 6/29/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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On the second day of the BET Experience at L.A. Live, I decided to watch the various acts performing on the main stage of the convention center. Each of the acts performed short sets to give the audience a sampling of what their music was all about.

The first act I was able to catch was LiV Warfield, a powerful R&B vocalist and member of Prince’s New Power Generation. Prince is high on LiV, and the public should be too.

Passionate, soulful and dynamic, her live performance is one that engages the audience and gives everyone a serious case of happy feet. It certainly didn’t hurt that she was supported by a first class band (with Prince’s NPG Hornz).

I was duly impressed with her set, and I highly recommend catching her perform live when she is in your town.

Like her Facebook page by CLICKING HERE to keep updated on her touring.

Setlist:

  1. The Unexpected
  2. NotGVNGUP
  3. Soul Lifted
  4. Why Do You Lie
  5. Black Bird

CLICK HERE to check out a collection of Instagram videos of most, if not all, of the songs LiV Warfield performed at this concert.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

Tank | BET Experience: Acoustically Speaking | 6/28/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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Hosted by the former Rap City and 106 & Park host Big Tigger, perhaps my favorite part of the BET Experience FREE Fan Fest was the intimate afternoon of performances at the Acoustically Speaking showcase. Taped live in front of an audience of not more than 300, the performances and interviews gave me an opportunity to “Experience” the sounds of some seriously talented, developing and established recording artists.

Each artist performed a short set of 4-5 songs. Each performance was followed by a one-on-one interview with Big Tigger. The performances and the interviews gave audience members an opportunity to really connect with each of the artists. It was truly a one of a kind performance experience.

Closing the Acoustically Speaking showcase was Tank. Clearly, his performance was for the ladies. As he walked on the she stage in his fitted, all-black, three-peice suit, the females in the audience erupted with pleasure. Clearly, he knows how to cater to his audience, even interrupting the performance by walking off-stage to give a zealous fan a hug.

But perhaps the most genuine moment of the set was when he gave his young daughter, sitting two rows behind me, a shout out and preached that he does what he does for the women (his daughter and his wife) in his life. In a fit of approval, his daughter went HAM with cheers of approval. Cuteness overload.

During his interview with Big Tigger, he dropped some updates on the projects he was working one, giving the audience of females a chance to cheer some more with his announcement that TGT (his collaborative musical efforts with Tyrese and Ginuine) was in the process of putting together another album.

Hopefully, BET will air the entire performance and interview at some point, but in the meantime, CLICK HERE to check out what video clips have been posted on BET’s website.

CLICK HERE to check out a collection of Instagram videos of most, if not all, of the songs Tank performed at this concert.

By this time in the day, my second (and last) battery pack was running on empty. My camera intermittently shut off while I was shooting this performance, and I didn’t really have time (or the battery) to set the camera to the right settings, so I shot with whatever setting my camera was already set at. I wish the photos could have been better, but I guess I’ll have to live with them. Next time, I’ll remember to bring a THIRD battery pack. LOL.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE