Happy Holidays friends!
its been awhile I know, no need to dwell on that. I’ve been around…
I just wanted to take a few moments to talk about how great this year was for me. One thing I MAY love just as much as cooked food, is live music. And in 2012, I absolutely set a record in my life for live music. Outdoor festivals, intimate dinner shows, club performances, and concert arenas!!! I did it all. Warning this post is kinda long–there is a lot to cover.
Since my birthday is in the fall, I spent the majority of 2012 commemorating the changing of the guard: I turned 30. and while it didn’t seem that major to me at the time, upon reflecting on this year I can say I’ve had wayyyyy more good times, great times even than bad and I’m gonna just go ahead and make the correlation there–the 30s have been good to me thus far. Now 31 years old, I’ve continued to learn more about myself, and I just really have to look back and reflect on all the awesome moments. Epic memories that will be treasured. I’m not totally where I want to be but I’m on my way! and I’ve had a great time on the journey thus far. This blog is my way of capturing some of it, the musical moments at least.
I started off 2012, January 1st to be specific at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD to see Wale. Now there was a time that this dude was my FAVORITE new rapper–somewhere around 2009. In 2011 I saw him at Merriweather Post Pavilion as an act for Lupe Fiasco’s LASERS tour. I dug his show so I was curious to see him solo. I was surprised to see all the hipsters and teens in the crowd but I guess I shouldn’t have, huh? The Ambition album had been out awhile and he did a good mix of songs from that, his studio debut as well as his mixtapes (read: his better material). The events that took place at this show with my girl and I cannot be exposed (lol) but just know it was a wild, humorous day, that lended to a great concert going experience and we had a ball.
This blog would be incomplete if I did not include the numerous performances of DC’s own Black Alley. I moved to this area late 2010 and got put on to them in 2011. Going to see Black Alley perform is one of my regular highlights in 2012 whether it be Stadium on Wednesdays, Bar 7 on Thursdays, or Indulj on Fridays we were in the place jamming to this soul garage band. I really was pressed to buy their CD Soul Swagger Rock Sneakers. It was sold out at EVERY show I went to. I eventually copped it on iTunes and it did NOT disappoint. In addition to their weekly club gigs, I saw Black Alley perform at the NY Ave Beach Bar and on the Navy Pier for an All White Party in the summer among other local bands. great times. One of my absolute favorite songs that Black Alley covers is Katy Perry’s “ET.” In my opinion its better than the original. I also like their cover of FUN’s “We Are Young”.
The spring was pretty ho hum but ooooh we turned it up in May at Drake’s Club Paradise tour at the Verizon Center. This show had a full cast of all the hot rappers and while we didn’t get there in time to see 2Chainz, we saw performances by Meek Mill, Waka Flocka Flame, J. Cole, and “Mr. Marvin’s Room” himself, Aubrey Graham aka Drake. He did not disappoint. He also brought out these artists during his set to do various collabos such as “Amen” ”Round of Applause” and “No Lie”. I was totally miffed that J. Cole and Drake did NOT perform “In the Morning” together, that made no sense to me. Cole had a pretty high energy set (I was surprised) and he did that song solo. errr. why? I am not a Waka fan so while he has party jams they didn’t really translate well live to me. So yea, that was my cue to sit down and rest my feet before the party really got live. All in all people seem to really love or hate Drake and I lean on the love side. He did a great job of making it feel like “a club” and I mean dude has party anthems–how can you NOT party? I danced and totally felt the vibe. great show.
In August I attended the annual Summer Spirit Festival that takes place at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. I missed this show last year because they cancelled it for some reason so I was excited to go this year. A plus was that it fell on my boo TT’s birthday so this wrapped up her bday festivities. its a outdoor lawn concert in the heart of summer so… it was HOT!! scorching even. And I decided to wear a black tshirt–what was I thinking?? smh. I had fun though. Acts included Eric Roberson (I had seen better sets of his); Estelle– a REALLY good set! and she sounded SUPERB LIVE. I was impressed; Chuck Brown Tribute Band (they were soooo dope! and you know the dc area crowd favorites); Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings — LISTEN. my first time seeing them live and jeez! that Sharon Jones ROCKED. ROCKED I SAY! she was having a full on party on that stage by herself. The Dap Kings provided great musicianship that really epitomized what I love about live music. Common performed also and he was his usual fahn self.
The headliner was no other than my boo thang Erykah Badu. *sigh* she hurt my heart yall. She performed like what 5, 6 songs? changed the melody up on too many of them and just didn’t seem into it. and didn’t even perform her best hits. I went home and immediately played Mama’s Gun to keep her in good standing in my life cuz I wanted to quit her that day. I’ve seen her do much better before so I’ma just let this go…
Labor Day weekend we redeemed ourselves missing 2Chainz at Club Paradise when we caught his show at the 9:30 Club in DC. Now, I admit I was not the biggest Tity Boi fan until he put out “Spend It” and got on a few features this year but hey. This was definitely his year and his show was high energy from beginning to end. It was also my first time in the 9:30 Club. His album hadn’t even been out a solid week I don’t think and he performed ALL THE SONGS, and the crowd knew them all (including me, lol). He definitely turned up and I had a great time. I think this had a lot to do with the timing of me seeing this show. He’s not the kind of artist with timeless music that you’d want to hear live over and over but I enjoyed myself in that moment.
Later in September I visited the Howard Theatre in DC to see Miguel. Howard Theatre was recently renovated and reopened earlier this year I believe, and they have some great shows!!! If I was rich I’d just post up there daily. I mean, they ALWAYS have someone good coming there, and the prices are pretty reasonable–anywhere from $20-50 bucks. If you are in the area I definitely recommend you peruse their website and attend a show or two, or three. lol. I thought the theater was beautiful and while this show was standing room like many of the others, its visually gorgeous not a hole in the wall.
Now, I can admit that am an official Miguel stan. I wasn’t before this show–ok yes I was. His first album was R&B perfection to me. I also saw him for the first time during the LASERS show and I knew he could rock. But THIS SHOW?? This show was about a week or so before his sophormore album came out and I am not lying I ran to the stores to buy it after seeing him live. He WOWED ME. I had previously heard most of the tracks due to the preview EPs he put out but yea, hearing them performed live sold it for me. His voice sounds just like the cd’s, his guitarist was dope sauce and just! AMAZING SHOW. lots of fun. Miguel is like a young Prince–he blends genres, he’s kinda androgynous, he’s sexy in a weird way… I dig him. A LOT. I’ve anticipated and enjoyed every single thing he’s put out and I can only hope for more greatness in him.
In October just a couple days after my bday, I met friends at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA to see the Robert Glasper Experiment. If you haven’t heard their latest album Black Radio please check it out! It was a tad disappointing they didn’t have any special guests to sing their songs (they are a eclectic jazz band that incorporates all genres; Glasper is a pianist) but it was quite an enjoyable show. The music is just so intoxicating. He recently released a Black Radio Remix EP but I haven’t yet checked it out.
In November I got the opportunity to go see MR. STEVIE WONDER at the Norfolk Scope for an Obama campaign rally. Listen. I drove from Maryland that same afternoon and went back the next day, it was that serious to go see that living legend Stevie. We rocked out too! Even though Stevie likes to remix his songs (to my chagrin) changing the lyrics to make them relevant to the situation, I enjoyed myself. and it was free! gotta love free.
3 days later I went with a girlfriend to The Hamilton to see Alice Smith. I wrote a blog about her not a couple years ago wondering where she had been so of COURSE I had to go see her. It was my first time seeing her live and SHE DID NOT DISAPPOINT. That woman can SANG! Now I am not gay but I was so close to the stage and she was so gorgeous and awesome and I’m not lying I kinda fell in love with her there. yea. She said she has a new album coming out in February and I sincerely hope so because I need more of her in my life. After that show I listened to her 2006 debut daily for about a week afterwards. Yes, she did that. I love when an artist moves you like that. She and Miguel are my top shows this year.
So after that great show we immediately found out Emily King was also coming to The Hamilton. What a coinkydink she was also in that same blog post!!! Her 2007 debut East Side Story was one I played TO DEATH. She also put out an EP last year, and a single here and there so I was curious to see her live. She played the guitar along with many of the songs, and it was just a very mellow show. She did a couple covers but mostly performed songs from the Seven EP. Good times! The Hamilton has become my fave venue in the DC area so far and I look forward to more shows in such a visually pleasing, intimate setting. I also have enjoyed experiencing up and coming artists that open in these smaller venues. I haven’t spent much time discovering new artists but as a soul music lover its good to know so many people are still out here grinding and dedicated to sharing great music with the world!
So that’s my year. as it wraps up, I look forward to ending it in true music lover fashion: on December 31st I will be back at the Fillmore to see THE LEGENDARY ROOTS CREW. I saw them in December last year and they never disappoint so this is the perfect way for me, to end such an awesome year. I now know where all my money has been going. lol. And on shoes, can’t forget the shoes.
This post was long, but it was overdue! Happy holidays music lovers. Maybe this post will inspire you to check out more live music in your area, discover some new artists, or revisit some old favorites. Here’s to more great times in 2013. Maybe I’ll be inspired to blog about them, or not. But don’t give up on ya girl!!
Did you attend any awesome concerts this year? discover any new artists? let me know!!