Lianne La Havas’ Reign – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC 9.23.15

I’ve said there seems to be a lack of true r&b and soul music in this day and age. But there is one artist that disputes my theory – Lianne La Havas. I had the pleasure of seeing her live at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. She’s a London born talent, with more talent in her little finger than many of the pop stars who call themselves singers today. She put on a perfectly smooth show, making quick and easy transitions from song to song. She’s on tour to promote her new album, “Blood.” She performed songs from that album, as well as her debut album, “Is Your Love Big Enough?” She’s a guitarist, an arranger, a songwriter, and quite the vocalist. She combines soul and a little bit of folk and thew in a LOT of her heart to make for a beautiful show hour plus show. Here is a clip of one of my favorite songs, Au Cinema. I suggest you listen to her two albums, and catch her while you can. You won’t be disappointed. Standouts include, “Unstoppable,” “Au Cinema,” “IYLBE,” “Forget,” and “What You Don’t Do.” Her voice is heaven. Her presence is commanding. It was a beautiful night, full of beautiful music.


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Dubbin’ it up with Black Dub and Rocco DeLuca at 9:30 Club 6.14.11

I have seeeeeen the glory..

…and it’s name is Black Dub.

I have respected producer Daniel Lanois for a lot of years. He’s produced everything from Bob Dylan, to Emmylou Harris, to U2, etc., etc.. So I when I found out that he was forming a band called Black Dub, I didn’t hesitate, I was so in like Flynn it was ridiculous. I trust him. Together with Brian Blade, Daryl Johnson, and powerhouse Trixie Whitley, who is another Joss Stone with fire if you can imagine that, they mix rock, blues, r&b, and a little dub and all heart. This is a band that is not meant to be missed. So when they decided to drop by our nation’s capitol at the well known 9:30 Club, you KNOW I had to witness such genius in person.

And man did they deliver from the musical heavens..

They started out with one of my particular favorites, “Where Love Is” which is packed with drums, wicked bass, and vocals that make the hairs on my neck stand out. Trixie is a true sight to behold. Such a tiny little thing with a voice dipped in pure gold. Hey I just made a rhyme. Lookie lookie. She will make you want to stand up and slap your Mama. And even if your mom slaps back, to hear Trixie.. it’s definitely worth the punishment. This band made my top album list of 2010 and it’s easy to see why. The whole band was on point from beginning to end. Daniel’s playing is phenomenal. He makes playing look so easy. As a player of 5 years, I can definitely say, it’s NOT easy. I would love to be his student for a few months (just don’t tell my teacher;-). He sashayed his guitar back and forth, making it cry and wail and just when he had us hooked, he jumps to the sitar and uses his glass slide and and rocks out to a long jam session with equally fantastic drummer Brian Blade go back and forth from boom boom to wailing. It’s really a sight to be seen. Trixie’s vocals are so sweet and strong, particularly on the track “Surely” which is a slow love song about her convincing her love that they were meant to be together. She also plays the drums.. not too shabby if I do say so myself.

Daniel, Trixie, and Daryl harmonize too, which is something that seems to be rarely seen in music nowadays. The three of them brought the house down with gospel and tambourine. So perfect. If you don’t know of their music, please check them out:

Black Dub’s opener, Rocco Deluca, is a sight to behold.  With his dobro, he can do no wrong as well. I first started listening to Rocco probably around 4 years ago. I’ve been a fan ever since. His vocals are haunting, his playing is just phenomenal. While I was used to seeing him rock out with a full band, last night he was on the stage, by himself, and his dobro. He sang his heart out with nothing but one light on the stage. It was pretty overwhelming to see him play and have this giant shadow of himself behind him. Very beautiful. He is a pure artist through and through and the impressions his face makes when he sings convey a sense of pain and hurt but his voice gives off a glimmer of hope. I wish more singers could do what Rocco does. But then again, what he does is what makes him one of a kind. A true thumbs up from this True Music Junkie. It is mandatory that his music is shared with the world. We all need it. He makes me feel safe. He makes albums that need to be shared. And I thank you for that Rocco. You are amazing. Check him out if he comes to your town:

Rollin’ In DC – Adele Live at 9:30 Club

I remember the first time I saw Adele.

It was on VH1..back when THEY used to show videos instead of MTV. It was for a video called “Chasing Pavements.” I thought it was such a throwback song, the sweeping orchestra, her melodies…it was such a beautiful song from beginning to end. I wondered who was this adorable woman with the voice from God. I was captivated by that voice. It reminded me of something Doris Day would sing. Or Dionne Warwick. The video was cute, but that voice was long lasting. I instantly became hooked. Fast forward some time later and she won a Grammy for “Best New Artist.” There’s usually a curse behind this you know. It seems like whoever wins this award fades into oblivion lol. Well not everyone, but in recent years. You wonder what happened to them. So you will understand my worry when Adele won. A voice like hers shouldn’t fade into oblivion. It’s just too damn good.

Fast forward a loooong time later and she returned for her long awaited album, 21, named after her age at the time she wrote the songs. Now at 22 she is conquering the world. One place she graciously conquered was Washington, DC, at our well known 9:30 club. A sold out show, it was expected to be..dare I say..EPIC. And I really don’t like to use that word. But it’s the one word that described tonight. Dressed in her famed black ensemble, she charmed the crowd from the first note, to the last. Adele was there to command attention, and she had us. She had us from the very start. She sang the first minute from off stage as her band played along. To hear her voice was just unbelievable. To be in the SAME building as she was..well..that was truly a dream come true.

Once entering the stage, the crowd erupted. It was unreal. So many screams of love and affection, to which she was very overwhelmed. She joked with the audience about her ex boyfriend, the topic of 21, and how he affected her. It was great to see her act silly and tell jokes and give a little insight as to what she was going through at the time of writing the second LP. I couldn’t get enough.. From “Chasing Pavements” to her version of “To Make You Feel My Love” there were resounding cheers of joy and and jeers towards her ex boyfriend. Her voice was absolutely phenomenal. The range she carries gives me the chills.. The crowd really participated, singing along on just about every song. One standout, and there were many was “Set Fire to the Rain.” And I wasn’t the only one in love with that song. Again, the audience’s participation was just as fierce sounding as Adele. And she ate it up and grinned from ear to ear at the love and adoration from all of us.

She is just that good.

The finale, “Rolling in the Deep” the first single from the second album, pretty much brought the house down, built it up, and brought it up again. People were shouting singing, so loudly that at one point the crowd drowned HER out. She held the microphone out so that the audience could sing the background vocal “you’re gonna wish you…never had met me…tears are gonna fall…rolling in the deep.” And if I do say so myself, we all could have totally been her back up singers. She laughed. We laughed. We cried at the emotional too. “Someone Like You” was an emotional song about finding out her ex found another woman. She was devastated. You can hear it all over the song, yet she sounded optimistic in wishing him all the best. As I looked around, couples huddled, and a few teared. A good time was had by all.

So thank you Adele for blessing us with your presence. A fantastic show, by an even more fantastic woman. Thank you.

And. Not to toot my own horn. But I love that she started her tour – her first night – in Washington, DC. Beat THAT NYC.

Fly of the Leaf.

So on the 25th of May, last week, I went to see two bands play at the 9:30 Club in DC. It’s a great venue and if you are anyone you stop by this place when you’re in the nation’s capitol. Flyleaf and 10 years. I had heard of both groups but I have never really seen either band live before. And they were rockin’. It was a very very loud show but the crowd was on point. They were eating up both bands alive and amidst all of the sweat pouring (by the fans and the bands) was a general commune of togetherness for music. 10 Years opened up for Flyleaf and they had so much energy. I didn’t know ANY one of their songs but I was completely and utterly distracted by the lead guitarist named Tater, who kept giving me the eye. I love it when guitarists give me the eye. He was cute too. The lead singer’s voice was beyond strong and I was very impressed. It was loud, heavy, and fast. 10 YEars were music to my own ears and I highly recommend them to you if you listen to rock music. I immediately downloaded both of their discs when I got home. They were stellar.

Flyleaf was absolutely amaaaazing. I knew they were a christian rock band, but it was so beyond my expectations of christian rock. They did just that. Rock. The lead singer, Lacey, jumped back and forth on stage, spinning around, and engaging the audience with her stares. She had so much energy, as did her band. The lead guitarist was just sick – jumping off platforms and landing, guitar in hand, and in tune EVERYTIME. Right into the second song, he was just dripping with sweat and it was like that the entire night. The bass player was just plain scary. He jumped up and down with the mane of hair the was rivaled only by Cousin It on the Adams Family. The crowd knew lyric for lyric – every break down and cheer. It was such a positive vibe to see. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Immmenseeeeely.

So thank you Flyleaf and 10 Years for a kick ass night. I am an official fan for life:-0 Woot woot!! And even though I was new to the scene and didn’t know the words I still headbanged my heart out. Well worth the headache in the morning.

And all had a good night.