Friday, April 29, 2016

Floetry Performs Floetic Reunion Show to Sold Out DC Crowd

April 27, 2016 - The Howard Theatre - Washington, DC

For this highly anticipated concert, which was the first night of two sold out shows at The Howard, I went with another one of my music soul mates and past guest blogger Roxy Brown.  Before I begin, let me just say that if you ever go to The Howard, eat before you go!  The food was that great, overpriced and definitely not worth the money.  And why was the dessert options the same damn price as an average entree? The wait staff was all over the place too. Okay, back to my show review. . DMV native actor (The Wire) now rapper Tray Chaney was the opening act.  Although he seemed to have a good stage presence, I didn't feel he gave the appropriate vibe to lead into Floetry and the audience just wasn't very interactive.

The minute Floetry walked on the stage, there was a welcoming energy that filled the theatre.  A musical void had finally been filled...the Floacist and the Songstress together again, if only just for a moment . . .I'll take it.  I was pleasantly surprised that they started the show with one of my favorites Sunshine (I even analyzed the song for a college class back in the day).  As they went through some of their amazing hits like Ms. Stress, Say Yes, and Lay Down, it took me down memory lane.  Several times, Roxy and I would turn to each other, singing the lyrics with excitement and joy.  They still got it!  To see how they fed off each other and vibed with the crowd was pure musical magic.  It was like an old friend had come back into town and we were making up for lost times.

Midway through the show, the Floacist and Songstress had a solo moment on the stage.  The Floacist performed her song Breathe, which I hadn't really checked out before but the message was very motivational.  She got the crowd to do some call and response to it which flowed nicely.  However, her time on stage was a bit drawn out.  When it was The Songstress' turn, I was kinda shocked she did Feelings and Just Like Old Times instead of some of her more popular solo hits.  They were only on the stage for about 1 1/2 hrs which in my opinion was too short given the many hits they could've added.  They did end the show on a upbeat note, taking it back to where it all began with Floetic which turned into that Go-go song Sardines.


Setlist

1.  Sunshine
2.  Fun
3.  Ms. Stress
4.  I'll Die
5.  Breathe (Flocist solo song)
6. Superstar
7. Butterflies

8. Feelings (Marsha alone)
9. Just Like Old Times (Marsha solo song)
10. Lay Down
11. Say Yes
12. Getting Late
13. Floetic


Seeing them together made me realize how much I missed hearing their sound, a unique sound missing in general in music.  I was left wanting more and wishing they were still making music together.  Their show further emphasizes how well spoken word and angelic vocals works together.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tori Kelly Returns to DC Bigger Than Ever

April 23, 2016 - DAR Constitution Hall - Washington, DC

For my first concert of the year, I went with my girl and one of my music soulmates Kelz.  I convinced her to attend as she wasn't that familiar with Tori's work so what better way but to get a live introduction! At 8pm, male trio Thirdstory opened the show.  These guys, originally from Bermuda, Dallas, and Connecticut but live in NYC, had an impressive vocal range.  They did amazing three part soulful harmonies and sounded a lot like 90s R&B with some gospel elements.  Two things I found interesting was that one, by the time Thirdstory got on stage, DAR was pretty much packed when most of the time it doesn't get full until the main act.  Secondly, I was shocked to see this group get so much crowd participation as if they were the main act.  Again, for a group that doesn't have mainstream popularity yet, most people don't get that involved.  Overall, Thirdstory did a great job warming up the stage up for Tori.

Tori came on stage at 9pm to a roaring crowd the minute her big curls were spotting coming from backstage.  What I enjoy so much about Tori is her runs.  This girl could do a whole song full of just runs.  Ain't nothing like hearing Tori's flawless runs and angelic falsseto, done like there's no effort involved.  During her almost 2 hour set, Tori performed most of the songs off her debut album Unbreakable Smile and mixed in a few songs from her 2012 EP Handmade and 2013 EP Forward.

At one point, Kelz turns to me and asks if I think Tori is going to do something in tribute to Prince despite the majority of the audience were young and probably wouldn't connect.  I told her there was no question she was and sure enough half way through, Tori did a brief performance of When Doves Cry that was slowed down and eerie sounding but appropriate.

Tori thanked the crowd for their support to acknowledge the fact that she wouldn't be here without the many people who viewed her on YouTube.  She then did a medley of covers that made her popular on YouTube.  As usual, Tori took a moment during the show to take a video of the audience to share the live experience with her fans on social media.

After performing Hollow during her encore set, Tori then showed us her drumming skills.  She impressed the hell out of me as she mimicked what her drummer did on his set.  They then both played the beat of BBD's Poison and did some Go-go beats.  It's always great when an artist incorporates the sounds of the city their in into the show, it's a sign of respect and homage.


Setlist

1.  Where I Belong
2.  Unbreakable Smile
3.  Expensive
4.  Anyway
5.  Nobody Love
6.  Falling Slow
7.  First Heartbreak
8.  Daydream
9.  Paper Hearts
10. Beautiful Things
11. Suit & Tie/PYT/Thinkin' Bout You Medley

12. Confetti
13. Funny
14. When Doves Cry (Prince Cover Interlude)
15. City Dove
16. I was Made for Loving You
17. Treasure
18. Something Beautiful
19. All in My Head
20. Dear No One
Encore
21. Hollow
22. Should've Been Us



I first saw Tori back in 2013 at The Fillmore (click here to read that concert review), a standing only venue in Silver Spring, and now see her pack a bigger venue such as DAR shows just how far Tori has come in her career and popularity.  So proud to see her growing success!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fade to Purple...The Death of Prince



On April 21, 2016, the world was ROCKED when we received the devastating news that Prince had passed away.  For days, people asked if I was going to post anything and it's taken me a while to get here to formalize my thoughts and write something to express this tremendous loss.

My exposure to Prince started as a young girl in the 80s listening to my older sister play his music in the house.  Saying she loved Prince was an understatement!  To proclaim her love, she once wrote "I Love Prince" in pencil on the white front door of our house.  This of course got her in trouble with our mom.  I also remember watching Purple Rain with her.  I was too young to really understand the context of the story but I soaked up the musical soundtrack.  As I got older, I was able to fully understand the story and how the songs brilliantly bring it to life.  My favorite part of the movie is the last scene when Prince performs probably my #1 favorite songs of his I Would Die 4 U.  I would even do the choreography that he did on stage.  I always felt a connection with Prince, especially since we were both Geminis, born on the same day.  The lyric "We are gathered here today/To get through this thing called life" from Let's Go Crazy was my go to line I used many times as I went through my own trials and tribulations.

Over these past few days, I've had several conversations with folks and read many social media posts.  The overall theme is that this lost is probably bigger than Whitney Houston or Michael Jackson since with them, although sad, nobody was really surprised.  But with Prince, his death came out of NO WHERE!!!  Like WTF is going on here?  It's also a huge loss due to Prince's unmeasurable influence on music and in a blink of an eye. . GONE!  This man was one of a kind, a musical genius.  Not too many artists are multi-instrumentalists who write, arrange, and produce all of their music.  How many artists can say they have a musical catalog of like over 40 albums?  How many artists really understand and take their responsibility as an artist seriously in terms of lyrical content or being a role model/spokesperson?  Shoot, Prince stopped performing his raunchy songs because he felt it was inappropriate when young kids were now attending his shows.

Prince was a true artist who not only cared about the music he created but also artists' rights.  Seen as a very quiet and private individual, Prince was not to be messed with and made sure he was respected and received appropriate compensation.  Before Taylor Swift and Tidal it was Prince who has always been very vocal about his disdain toward the music industry and how music is distributed to the masses.  This is the main reason years ago, Prince changed his name to that ambiguous symbol in retaliation towards a contractual issue with his label.  Who would've thought of that move?

He also used his talent to help others and spread awareness to social issues like last year when Prince released the song Baltimore which touched upon the Freddie Gray case.  He also held a concert in Baltimore City with proceeds going to local charities.  Prince knew that his status could influence and used that to his advantage.  He wasn't about fame or glory but educating others and creating unity.

I don't think it's really hit me yet and I'm just so hurt at the fact that I never got the opportunity to see him live, that has been taken away from me.  I feel cheated damnit!  I just don't understand. . .#icant.  Despite the sadness, it does bring me joy to look at all the old footage being shared on social media and hearing the many stories from his friends and family that are surfacing that further describes Prince's impacts that were until now kept private upon his request.  This is what greatest looks like. . .this displays the greatest that is. . . The Artist!

Below, I leave you with my Top 10 favorite Prince songs. . .


(in no particular order)
  1. I Would Die 4 U (#1 favorite song though)
  2. When Doves Cry
  3. Diamonds & Pearls
  4. The Beautiful Ones
  5. Let's Go Crazy
  6. Scandelous
  7. Kiss
  8. Darling Nikki
  9. Pop Life
  10. Adore
  11. I Wanna Be Your Lover
  12. 1999
  13. Thieves in the Temple
  14. If I Was Your Girlfriend
  15. Erotic City
  16. Purple Rain
  17. Nothing Compares 2 U
  18. America
  19. Raspberry Beret
  20. Controversy


Until the end of time. . .we truly adore you!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Voice Season 10: Top 12


Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/9c on NBC


This week the Top 12 performed.  Take a look at the MusicLife favs . . . .


Contestant:  Adam Wakefield
Team:  Blake
Song: Soulshine by Allman Brothers Band

In the words of Pharrell, "are we doing this right here?!" Adam continues to take us to church and the organ was a great touch!


Contestant:  Alisan Porter
Team:  Christina
Song:  Stone Cold by Demi Lovato

Alisan sings with so much power and emotion.  She just blows you away like Adam said.


ContestantHannah Huston
Team:  Pharrell
Song:  Something's Got a Hold on Me by Etta James

Adam labeled her sound, Alien Soul. . . lol.


Contestant:  Shalyah Fearing
Team:  Adam
Song:  Up to the Mountain by Patty Griffin

16 years old. . . damn!!! #thatisall.



In the end, Pharrell lost Emily Keener in the Instant Save Round.  Next week, the Top 11 will perform.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Gwen Stefani Brings Eve Along for North American Tour



Gwen Stefani just announced dates for her This is What Truth Feels Like Tour in support of her third solo album of the same name released last month.  Joining her as the tour's opening act is Eve who has collaborated with Gwen in the past for two smash hits, Let Me Blow Your Mind (2001) and Rich Girl (2004).


Tour Schedule

July 12 – Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center
July 16 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans Amphitheater
July 17 – Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
July 19 – Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion
July 21 – Wantagh, NY @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
July 23 – Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion
July 24 – Raleigh, NC @ Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
July 26 – Tampa, FL @ MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
July 27 – West Palm Beach, FL @ Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre
July 29 – Alpharetta, GA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
July 31 – Noblesville, IN @ Klipsch Music Center
August 2 – Detroit, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
August 4 – Toronto, ON @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
August 6 – Chicago, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
August 7 – Saint Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center
August 9 – Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
August 10 – St. Louis, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
August 12 – Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
August 13 – Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion
August 14 – Houston, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
August 16 – Austin, TX @ Austin360 Amphitheater
August 19 – Las Vegas, NV @ T-Mobile Arena
August 20 – Fresno, CA @ Save Mart Center
August 24 – Seattle, WA @ KeyArena
August 25 – Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena
October 8 – Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
October 15 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum


Click here for ticket info

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Price of Fame: Singer Kehlani Attempts Suicide After Social Media Bullying

The Price of Fame:  A featured post that takes a look at musicians and the impact that success has on their lives


On March 28, R&B singer Kehlani (check out my Keep an Ear post on her here) posted on Instagram that she had attempted suicide.  This came after her on again boyfriend rapper PARTYNEXTDOOR posted an IG picture earlier that day of them holding hands in bed.  So what's the issue you say?  Well it sparked drama on social media when people went in on her saying she had cheated on NBA player Kyrie Irving, whom she was dating since January.  Mind you, Kehlani and Irving had already broken up (Irving confirmed this 24 hrs this situation).  Soon after this blow up, Kehlani deleted her IG account but then reinstated it hours later posting a photo and caption (below) stating she had attempted to end her life.

It's still uncertain whether her attempt was due to backlash received on social media.  However, Kehlani did say she felt the need to share this experience publicly because she's always done so through her music which has helped people.  "I tell the story so that hopefully someone else who needed it hear it, would."

Many artists like Nick Cannon (who discovered her), Keyshia Cole, BJ the Chicago Kid, Tinashe, Questlove, and others posted messages of love and support.  However, some people shared a different type of sentiment. . .Chris Brown released several tweets of shade saying she posted it on IG for attention and publicity.  CB needs to have SEVERAL SEATS!!!  He's definitely not in the position to talk with his lengthy negative track record.

I have mixed feelings with people, let alone celebs, being so free with their private lives on social media because it leaves you open to unsolicited criticism.  But, I commend Kehlani for sharing something so personal through a public platform as a way to help others who might be going through similar situations.  This just further emphasizes that celebs are human and aren't immune to trials and tribulations.  It's unfortunate that people feel the need to bash people on social media, especially when they're FARRRRRRRRRR removed from the situation and don't even know all the facts.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Voice Season 10: Top 24 Live Playoffs




Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/9c on NBC

Last week, the Teams performed in the Live Playoffs.  Teams Christina and Blake performed on Monday (night one) and Teams Pharrell and Adam performed Tuesday (night two).  Take a look at the MusicLife favs of both nights.


Night One

Contestant:  Alisan Porter
Team:  Christina
Song: Cry Baby by Janis Jopin

Wow!  Best performance of the night.  She did the damn thing!


Contestant:  Ryan Quinn
Song:  I'm Not the Only One by Sam Smith
Team:  Christina

Soild vocal performance.  Unfortunately, he was eliminated.


ContestantNick Hagelin
Song:  Stay by Rihanna ft. Mikko Ekko
Team:  Christina

This wonderful falsetto performance proved why Christina chose him for her "Comeback Artist."


Night Two

ContestantShalyah Fearing
Song:  Listen by Beyonce
Team:  Adam

What a vocal powerhouse at only 16 years old!!


Contestant:  Nate Butler
Song:  Sara Smile by Hall & Oates
Team:  Adam

I love how he does he runs.  Unfortunately, he didn't make it to the Top 12


Contestant:  Owen Danoff
Song:  Hero by Family of the Year
Team:  Adam

I agree with the coaches, he made that song his own.


From what I saw from these Top 24 performances, Team Christina dominated the first night with Adam taking the second.  We'll see who makes it to the Top 12 tonight.

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