Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Ordinary People and Bag Ladies

Some of soul’s finest passed through Columbus this weekend, to the delight of the dreaded out and afroed crowd. Here’s a recap of who rocked, who sang too damn much and who won me over.

He’s Alright With Me

Kanye West protégé John Legend totally won me over in his performance at the Newport Music Hall on Friday. For more than a year, I had been skeptical of his Alicia Keys-esque style and mediocre song writing. But this guy’s voice is so soulful, he could sing a Britney Spears’ cover that brings you to tears.

“She Don’t Have to Know,” brought Legend from behind the keys to an energetic and sexy romp through infidelity. He denounced all of the hype behind his album being about cheating. “There are only two songs on the album like this, people are overreacting,” he said. My bad. The standout of the show was definitely “Ordinary People,” a song I fought for months that I have now grown to love. The live rendition is particularly moving with the addition of a calypso-tinged ending. “Live It Up,” is an inspiring and confident song about realizing dreams and getting goals accomplished. Through his live show, Legend definitely shows a maturity and command of good music that his R&B peers lack.

Sugar in the Water

The Sugar Water Festival stopped by the Germain Ampitheater on Saturday night, with a show that any real music lover should have caught. Though my overall impression of the show was that is was great, short sets and Dana Muthaphuckin’ Owens left me wanting more.

She’s the Songstress and She Does What?

Floetry opened the night in a mush-mouthed, half-hour set. And I think it’s time to set the record straight with this group. First of all, the whole poetry and singing blend thing is kind of played out, and I knew this when I realized that the only Floetry songs I liked were without Natalie Stewart (The Floacist). Word the British…singers don’t need hype men!

If This Bitch Don’t Rap

The artist formerly known as Queen Latifah opened her set with some jazz standards, possibly to the delight the senior citizens in the audience, but not to me and anyone else under the age of 85. Who the hell wants to hear a rapper sing about California Dreamin.’ I was waiting for the Queen to light a cigarette, and thank the fabulous casino for letting her jam, baby. It was the worse thing I’d seen all weekend. Once Dana Owens exited the stage and the Queen appeared, the crowd rose to their feet, almost in forgiveness, and relived bangers “Latifah’s Had It Up To Here,” “Just Another Day” and “UNITY.”

Jilly from Philly

If there were ever a war on the United States soil, there are a few black people who should be sent to the moon in protection: P. Diddy (to preserve the sexy), Bill Cosby (despite his recent ignorance, he did make it cool to be middle class) and Jill Scott for the operatic, urban greatness. The only flaw in her performance was that it didn’t last all night. I would have danced in that damp ass lawn all night long, to watch her literally make love to the microphone. If her voice resonates on your speaker box, the quality of it live is enough to bring you to tears. “Lyzel in E Flat” live is an experience that makes you want to find that brother and pour some Gatorade over his head for loving that woman the way he does. Damn.

Mama’s Gun

Erykah Badu live is a feast for the senses: she looked dope rockin’ a business suit and towering headwrap, her voice is an instrument rivaled by none and the smell, well, all I can say is … “Puff.” Having been a fan since “On & On…” I have been so anxious to see Badu’s live show, and it was well worth the wait. The quality of her voice is explosive on anthems like “Danger” yet soothing on “Bag Lady,” which closed her set. Between puffing and testifying, Badu was like a prophetic siren, calling for the women in the audience to empty their bags of drugs, sex and other addictive behaviors. Next lifetime won’t be soon enough for me to see her live again.

Columbus should be proud that several black music shows came though the city and were well-attended, peaceful and thoroughly covered by mainstream media. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get to the Original Superstars of Hip Hop Tour, and fortunately I didn’t get to the Scream IV fiasco. But if anyone wants to share, hit me up!


At 12:48 AM, Blogger Midlife Crisis said...

I will not use this as an opportunity to rag on Cleveland because I am not a concert person anyway..but it sure is nice to hear that culture is alive and well in SOME part of Ohio! Concerts like that don't even come here anymore!
And I promise, that is my last dig on Cleveland!
(Ahem...Of course, DO take this all back if they did come to Cleveland. Midlife Crisis does NOT keep up with local events.)

At 10:33 AM, Blogger Funky D said...

Nice reviews, Donna. Sounds like a good weekend was had. I moved, which was not very fun.

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