It should go without saying that this is going down as one of the top live performances I attended this year. Ain’t nothing changed.
Something did change with this stop through DC for Phonte and Nicolay. At last, we had all of the artists that blessed Leave It All Behind on stage. DC showed it’s appreciation with a sold out venue.
Darien Brockington, who I last feasted eyes on when he performed withLittle Brother here in DC back in 2007, rejoined the tour to lend his smooth and soulful vocals (and dashing good looks – but we’re focusing on the music here!)
While it was all peaches and cream seeing DBrock perform with Foreign Exchange, I made sure to badger him after the show as to when we will see another full length effort from him.
Sir, it’s been more than a minute.
1,577, 846, give or take a few, to be exact.
He said he was in the studio working on it. I’ve heard that before! So he shall continue to get the side eye of death until we get something more concrete – like a single perhaps.
Anyway we kissed and made up and and cheesed it up for a nice photo.
Couldn’t forget about Phontigallo aka Cat Daddy. He was in rare form as usual and looking quite suave and debonair in his Harlem Nights attire.
Check out a few videos from the show. You know, after listening to this album for the fifty eleventh time that morning and then seeing this show, I think I will go ape-shit, literally, on the next person who dares to bump their gums and say any of the following:
“There’s too much sangin!”
“Phonte needs to rap more!”
“This album ain’t like Connected!”
Evolve people. Seriously. I simply don’t understand anyone who doesn’t get this album. You’re a stranger to me.
As always, I got the entire show for you over at my You Tube channel. I’ll post different songs from the last review. They performed all of my favorites (and yours I’m sure). So head over to the channel and check them out. Subscribe while you’re there. More goodies coming!
All Or Nothing
Darien Brockington shining on Come Around
Something To Behold
Covering the Rude Boys Written All Over Your Face
Enjoy responsibly and support whatever they come out with collectively and individually.
Next up, are my ten favorite songs (plus some honorable mentions) that you’ve likely had in heavy rotation as well.
1.Erykah Badu, “That Hump”
I was one of the few that dug New Amerykah from first listen. There were many standout tracks for me. However, once I heard that slow, thumping bass line of “That Hump,” I knew it was a song I would have on repeat. Many a day over the past year, I was right there with her. I look forward to what’s in store for Part 2. If you want a sneak peek you must follow her on Twitter. (And yes, it’s really her). If nothing else, you will be thoroughly entertained.
2. Eric Roberson, “Let Me Know”
I first heard this song on the radio late one night and nearly lost my mind. Is that Erro?! I heard he had a new song out but had no idea it would have a soulful house flavor to it. It’s hard to sit still when this one comes on, as evidenced by my very shaky video of his performance this past summer. I won’t even bother to try to capture it when he comes to DC for Inauguration Weekend. I’m just going to let my hair down and follow his command and “shake it!” I hope we see more of this on Erro’s next project.
3. Jazzanova f/ Leon Ware and Dwele, “RockinYou Eternally”
This entire project would be on this list if I had the room. However, this remake of this 1981 classic by Leon Ware featuring Dwele drew me in from first listen. When this comes on, I have to just sit back, close my eyes and just groove. I dare to say it surpasses the original for me. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, Dwele needs to stick to guesting on other’s projects and step away from the solo material for a minute.
I would also encourage you to take a listen to Leon Ware’s new project Moon Ride. Like Al Green’sproject, it’s simply good ole classic soul that doesn’t seem dated. Both projects would make great stocking stuffers for that seasoned person in your life who is still hip but has no use for what’s on the radio.
4. Al Green and John Legend, “Stay With Me (By The Sea)”
This was another album that you could just let play through. Classic Al, but it didn’t feel dated. That’s what happens when you get Questlove involved (who is also on Twitter here and here – and yes, it’s really him. Ya’ll better get it while it’s hot!). There were so many outstanding collaborations but there was just something about John and Al that made the perfect combination. Or maybe I’m just a big ole romantic at heart.
5. Q-Tip, “Life Is Better”
I had about four different songs here as my top pick from Renaissance. “We Fight/We Love. ” “You.” (I had to give this one an honorable mention). “Gettin Up. ” “Manwomanboogie.” They have all been in constant rotation since I got my hands on this album. However, Norah Jones’ sound (which I wouldn’t have recognized had I not looked at the liner notes) and the hip hop history lesson made this song a must-add. However, what pushed me over the edge was re-watching my videos from the concert last month. This song just begs for live instrumentation.
6. Foreign Exchange, “Sweeter Than You”
Another album where it was absolute agony trying to choose my favorite. This is also my album of the year. When I saw the live performance of “Sweeter Than You,” I felt like I was transported back to the 1920s and 30s, one of my favorite eras. I could picture myself sitting in one of those jazz clubs dressed to the nines and smoking those skinny cigarettes. Phonte on the mic crooning and then the band comes in. Watch and you’ll see what I mean.
I’m glad Eric released this as the first single on his album. In my opinion, this is the standout track on an otherwise so-so album. This is vintage Eric, taking me back to his first two releases which still remain in constant rotation to this day. It makes me feel sexier than “Chocolate Legs” does (although I must say his acapella version and explanation makes me rethink that statement. Hell nobody said the man couldn’t sannnng any woman’s granny panties off. No dispute about that!) Overall, this album, sans this simply beautiful song, just didn’t do it for me.
photo credit: tamara dulva
8. Raphael Saadiq “Oh Girl”
It was love at first listen. It’s the track I keep going back to on this album. It you don’t want to throw this on and grind real hard with your boo, something is wrong with ya! I had to include the live performance with this one because the choreography only enhances the listening experience. And looking at that picture, that is one seasoned gentleman I wouldn’t mind getting down on one knee and crooning to me!
9. Estelle, “No Substitute Love”
Another outstanding release where it was hard to pick a favorite. I need at least one island flavored track on my list each year and Estelle does that so well. Besides, the sentiment was one I had to express a little too often this year for my taste. Here’s hoping for a better 2009 in that respect.
10. The Roots f/Chrisette Michele and Wale, “Rising Up”
In the words of DJ Stylus, it’s plain and simple. This. Joint. CRANKS. Impossible to sit still on this one. That go-go beat, over which DC native Wale represents, is infectious. Even if you don’t get down with go-go, there is no way this track doesn’t move your body. Except if you live in Baltimore. They were stiff as hell when The Roots performed this at the show up there back in May. I can’t forget my girl Chrisette Michele who is absolute perfection on this track (come back soon!).
As I mentioned, after the election, I took a brief trip South that started out well and ended badly. Another longterm friendship is likely kaput but this one is a bit more complicated than the situation earlier this year. At some point I may blog about it. Suffice to say, I came back feeling very out of sorts. I definitely needed to take off the blues and leave some shit behind. Good thing I had two spectacular concerts lined up to make it all better.
Leave It All Behind has been on constant rotation in the pod and is sure to make my top albums of the year list. I could not wait to see Phonte and Nicolay bring the album alive on stage. Then to hear that Yahzarah, Muhsinah and Zo (of Zo & Tigallo Love The 80s) would perform with them was music to my ears.
I’m sure you are still as worn out from reading the Maxwell review as I am from writing it. So I’m going to keep this one brief and let the music speak for itself!
I’ll just say that this was one of the best shows I’ve been to this year. The multi-talented (rapper, singer, and comedian) Phonte and underrated female soul singers Yazarah (longtime Foreign Exchange collaborator) and Muhsinah didn’t just sing over Nicolay’s beats. They performed and entertained almost all of the songs from the album. I’ll just highlight my favorites here. The rest you can view over on my You Tube channel.
In between songs from Leave It All Behind and the first album, Connected, Phonte interacted with the crowd as only he can. He broke down for us the key to a successful relationship (which made me crush on him even harder – if possible) and shared the story of the day he met Stevie Wonder *swoon* and Stevie actually knew who he was! Can you imagine what that’s like for a real artist who is grinding his ass off and is not on the radio fourteen times an hour? Good stuff indeed!
So for those of you not yet subscribed to my channel, here is some video of my favorites.
House of Cards (Check out Phonte looking real dapper in his fedora. Too clean. Too pretty.)
Sweeter Than You (Yahzarah sounds so beautiful on this one)
I Wanna Know (Phonte’s relationship seminar is in session at the end of this one)
Nic’s Groove (from Connected)
Take Off The Blues (yes, I did!)
Okay, obviously like Lays, I can’t have just one. The entire album is really a must-own for any lover of real music. They are just beginning to tour to promote the album with stops planned in North Carolina and Atlanta so far. This is one not to be missed when they come to a city near you. Don’t get left behind!