BIG SEAN HITS HOUSTON FIRST

by Jazsmin Douglas 

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Big Sean at Revention Music Center Houston, TX – photo by JoBrea Neal 

March 17, 2017 was opening night of rapper Big Sean’s I Decided Tour. Concert goers at the Revention Music Center in Houston, Texas were introduced to an array of artistic expression and diversity. From Tokyo to Detroit and back again the performances were on point; however, there were a few moments in the show where the audience just did not connect. Comprehensively, Big Sean and his creative team provided an atmosphere of pure hip hop. By the end of the show, I realized exactly what Big Sean had decided and the revelation is marvelous. 

I have yet to discover how MadeinTYO is connected to Tokyo, but I am familiar with his music. His popular song “Uber Everywhere” was a huge hit as he opened for Big Sean. Other songs during his set were in accordance with the sound of this era, but none of the tracks were strong enough to recall them later. Except of course, his second single “Skateboard P” featuring Big Sean. None the less, MadeinTYO’s performance was refreshing. He was great with the audience and the DJ, and blended new school dance with old school performance swag. He captivated older fans as well as the hipsters. But not all concert goers were vibing, per MadeinTYO. Apparently, the crowd was a mixture of turn up fans and fans who stand and look cute. Yeah, the crowd was diverse and quite stylish on Friday, but your job MadeinTYO is to get them turnt!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

photo by JoBrea Neal

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Fans got quite “turned up” during Big Sean’s performance, except when he forced us to switch our emotion in the middle of the show at which point I felt a little bipolar. It wasn’t just me. I asked my photographer what song felt the most out of place during his show and she was dead on. Although the song was amazing and I could not remember the title, it would have been better positioned at the end of the show. Sean encouraged the audience and then provided time to slowly empathize with his words. The moment would have been better suited for Sean to perform such a more powerful track. He might have received the reaction he wanted rather than a disconnected and detached audience.  

 Being momentarily detached is common among family, but it does not take away from the unconditional love. The Revention Music Center was full of love! It began with MadeinTYO mentioning that his grandmother was from Houston. Then, Big Sean acknowledged his relatives in attendance who also lives in Houston, namely his aunt and a few cousins. The fun part for me, was when Big Sean recognized the audience members in attendance with their own family members. The first relationship highlighted of course being a sister! I immediately looked over at my sister as she and I began our personal hand shake in laughter! Houston’s own son of rap Travis Scott hit the stage, and things got taken up a notch when homage was paid to the legendary Pimp C.  

 Based on the artistic expression provided by Big Sean and his crew, I am positive that his decision is related to providing for his family and he is on tour encouraging others to fulfill their own destiny and do the same. The lights, videos, and images of burning windows all proved that he is an artist capable of creating intriguing concepts and visual expressions as well. Big Sean is destined to be a legend of the culture at the benefit of his fans, friends and family.   

  

THE SUFFERS COME HOME

by Petrice Douglas

suffers-4The Suffers at House of Blues in Houston – photo by JoBrea Neal

The beginning acts were too good for me not to give attention to in this review.img_9723Ishi – photo by JoBrea Neal

Let me start with Ishi who I had never heard of prior to the show. I knew that the music had to be something different by the looks of the band, and I was rightfully surprised. The lead vocalist looked like ZZ Top borrowed clothes from Willie Nelson who borrowed clothes from his Native American friend who borrowed a few accessories from George Clinton. As weird as it sounds, it was actually very intriguing and fit well with the performance. The style of music was just as blended with a bit of pop, disco, techno, and folk coming together to make one incredible sound. I have not heard it put together like this, and it seems like Ishi has scientifically mastered this form of art. A fusion of music that I REALLY like and want to hear more of it.

jmsn-1JMSN – photo by JoBrea Neal

Another opening talent that I am a new fan of is JMSN. This guy put out so much soul! The depth of his voice filled the house as he crooned out songs from his new album “It Is”. JMSN is as talented on the guitar as he is vocally, and hit us with a few moments of guitar solos. Bass player Taiki added some funk to the soul that kept the crowd funkyfied (funkyfied – new word that I made up to describe the feeling I was feeling at the time). Something else that was a first for me and very eye catching was the design of the drummer’s cymbal. It was cut into a long spiral shape and hung down to the floor. It was so unusual that I just wanted to jump on the stage and hit it one time. Give it up for the bad ass drummer with the bad ass cymbal!

WELCOME HOME TO THE SUFFERS! It was awesome having you home if only for one night.img_9873photo by JoBrea Neal

KAM! KAM! KAM! Did you have to kick it off with “Gwan”? THAT’S MY JAM!

You have to be hard of hearing or just plain old stupid if you do not feel the high power of music while listening to The Suffers. I am so fascinated with The Suffers from Kam’s vocal ability  and infectious tone to the band’s instrumentation skills. No instrument over shadows the other, and they have the perfect marriage of soul with a big band sound. Kam’s powerful voice commands attention with every word. Pulling from her soul, she ejects heartfelt emotions that are so free and uplifting. It was like I was watching my best friend performing on stage because she was real and personal when speaking and transitioning from song to song. Telling us how the group has been touring full time for the last two years with 400 plus performances in that time span, and that they no longer make excuses when it comes to creating new music. YES! I am here for that y’all. They then gave us a bonus of musical magic with their new song “I Think I Love You”……..oh yes I do.

The night continued to be one big happy soulful jam fest. We all enthusiastically took in every ounce of musical energy The Suffers cast upon us. At the end of their performance the love didn’t stop, and the band mingled and took pictures with fans and friends while The Waxaholics kept the music going.

ENCORE PLEASE!

Kirko Bangz Day In Houston

by Petrice Douglas

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photos by JoBrea Neal

November 22, 2016 is officially Kirko Bangz Day in the City of Houston. Ashley Turner presented him with a proclamation during his “Back Flossin'” concert at Warehouse Live on Tuesday in front of a packed house. In true Kirko fashion not making the day all about himself, fans were treated to the concert for free with a canned food donation as part of a benefit effort with Houston community leaders. Notable local talent such as Tim Woods, DJ XO who is also Kirko’s DJ, Neekdaskittz, MC Beezy, Final Draft from Atlanta, and several others opened up the show.

Congratulations Kirko on your well deserved day!

One Hell of A Duo – Blaze and Black

By Petrice Douglasphotographer - JoBrea NealBlaze and Black – House of Blues September 2, 2016

We should have listened the first time when we heard about the fusion of sounds and cosmic energy hip hop duo Blaze and Black bring to the stage. All we have to say is, “they are one hell of a duo!”

The two along with band The Artthrobs layer r&b, pop, and hip hop to create a nice palatable sound that keeps you wanting more. The lyrical flare and high energy Black exudes across the stage is infectious while Blaze’s vocals help you feel every word.

More on Blaze and Black

Tamar (Smack Lips) Braxton

Tamar and JoBrea of K.B.C.C. Radio

Tamar and JoBrea of K.B.C.C. Radio

You may be wondering why I’m three days late putting up this review? Well, that ain’t yo bizness!

Here’s the business:

Yaass! Let’s start with that all the way turned up DJ Mister Rogers. He had the crowd going crazy no matter where you were from or when you were born. My new favorite deejay played requested music, gave shout outs, and mixed it all together just right while keeping up with Twitter requests.  I’m talkin’ from Al Green, Betty Wright, TPac, We Are Toonz, Biggie, Miley Cyrus, Drake, and Lorde. I honestly thought he was only going to mix a few minutes until an opening act came out, but it turned out he was the opening act. I was so happy, and if you were there you saw my happy dance.

The show was a sell out and had been sold out as early as April of this year. I cannot count how many disappointed people I saw at the ticket booth begging for a ticket. So a note to Tamar’s staff to book a larger venue the next time she comes to the H, cause we be in there (smack lips).

Now for all the Tamartians (smack lips), I don’t really need to tell you that she did her thang! Tamar opened with “She Did That” and was gettin’ down with the get down along with her dancers. Her set list was combined with relationship advice. If you are single, beware of the scallywags and those cool talkers who can talk the drawers off Jesus (smack lips). My heart smiled as she displayed her undeniable love for Vince and how he makes her feel like the “Prettiest Girl” in the world while video clips of the happy couple and others played in the background. The fun part of the night was when seven fans from the audience got a chance to get their shine on and sing “Love and War” on stage with Tamar to close the show. Not to crush anyone’s dream, but some of them may want to start dreaming about taking voice lessons (smack lips).

Set design – Rotating background stage that doubled as a video screen.

Band’s look – No band, but dancers. Two guys and two girls that were well in sync and never out shined each other. The guys did a nice “make me want to scream while I ask the Lord to forgive me for these ungodly thoughts” dance.

Sound – Sound system was a little choppy and off, but Tamar did not let it hold her back. Her vocals were powerful and passionate.

Side note – Tamar is real with the fans, and gave hugs to everyone that attended her sound check and meet and greet. She took time with them to let them know how much she appreciates their support and never rushed anyone along.

(Smack lips) I just had to do that one more time! True Tamartians understand, so you betta get in on this.

Hey DJ, Rewind That!

Yep, that is what I said when I heard the new single “Rewind” by Rascal Flatts while sitting in the conference room at The New 93Q for their up close and personal.

Petrice-Rascal Flatts
The Q Morning Zoo’s Tim Tuttle, Kevin Kline, and Erica Rico hosted the event with some Q&A for the group to get things started. That’s when I realized these guys are as comical as they are talented. I found out that Gary’s wife thinks he’s a speed demon, Jay is guilty of texting while eating, and Joe could have hugged me a little tighter cause he is grown-man sexy.

One listener got her birthday wish by having the guys sing “My Wish”. They gave us a quick sample of what a medley of their songs could sound like at a concert. I was like, “YEAH!” (in my Lil Jon voice) until I found out they were only joking about doing a concert full of medleys. All shucks, they had me going. They took a pause from playing live so that we could hear the new single on CD. At first I thought that was kind of strange, but a couple of seconds into the song I totally understood. We would not have been able to fully appreciate the instrumentation of the song if they would have played it live with only two guitars. The song started out with a simple groove as Gary’s magical voice wooed us. About 30 seconds later, I was in a trance. My ears were trying to grasp every riff and strum from the guitars, the cadenced madness of the drums, and the harmonic voices from the guys that exploded into a melodic change. This happened more than once throughout the song, and to say I was impressed would be an understatement. Rascal Flatts has done it again y’all!

I asked the station’s Music Director when we would start hearing “Rewind” on air, and guess what? I heard it today! This is the reason The New 93Q is known as the best country station and recipient of the 2013 Marconi Award. Now I can really say, “YEAH!” in my best Lil Jon voice.

Electric Lady Electrofies The House of Blues

Janelle Monae

photo by Marc Baptise

Janelle Monae had the house all the way turned up, electrified, and funktified all at the same time. Leaving no doubt in the minds of anyone who thought this small sized beauty couldn’t hold her own. Though she came in peace, her music caused some rhythmic (and not so rhythmic from the looks of the guy dancing next to me) convulsions.

Set design – all black and white.

Band’s look – Musicians dressed in white lab jackets while her background vocalists dawned black and white striped 60’s styled tops with black legging.

Music/Sound/Sight – All the instruments were well blended. I did take issue with the lighting during some of the songs because they seemed like they were out of place from time to time, but that’s just me. Hell, those kind of things really don’t matter when the rest of your body is movin’ and groovin’. I will say that the electric guitar player was so freakin’ awesome that I wondered from time to time if he was that purple paisley man…….you know who I’m talking about. He put the jaaaaaaaaam in jaaaaaamin’ (that was not a typo!). Janelle’s vocals were powerful yet sweet and majestic. She stopped to diffuse a situation that was happening in front of the stage, and asked the parties involved to hug. They did, and the party kept on going. GIRL POWER ROCKS!!!

She did all of my favorites Cold War, Electric Lady, Tightrope, Dance Apocalyptic, Q.U.E.E.N, and more. I’m sorry for not listing her set, but I was jammin’ so don’t judge me.

Opening Act – Roman GianArthur. Another new force in the industry. He started out with a song that was a blend of Prince and James Brown, sprinkled in a cover of “Bag Lady”, and hit us with a seductive bassy tune called “I-69”.  The only downfall was him ending with a cover song. I would suggest ending with “I-69”; however, I honestly can’t wait to hear more from this guy.