Archive for March 30, 2012

PEVEN EVERETT 30.03.12

March 30, 2012

PEVEN EVERETT

& The Jam Band

 

Space2 harkens the memories of raving in an old abandoned warehouse by railroad tracks of yesteryear. The space hinges on the border of a dilapidated makeshift and an underground dance heaven. Somewhere along the line, lacking is the polished aesthetics. That exclusive charm that delivers a punch or an interior theme that applies a namesake. Perhaps, that’s what Space2 is; a place of space without the bells and whistles. There’s not much of a bar except for a wooden table selling bottled water and basic spirits. If your taste lingers in the high-end alcohol department, then exit right to the Sound Table, the restaurant next door owned by Jeff Myers and Karl Injex. Apropos, Space2 is owned by the same establishment. Kudos to the two for realizing the palpable need for an intrinsic dance floor not decorated with dinner tables, dining chairs and a hustling wait staff. Warning. Ladies hang your head low and keep one eye to the ground. Be careful, stilettos and other sharp ended spikes might wobble sending you to kiss the pavement. Muah. The cratered concrete floor needs a quick refurbish, the exposed walls beg for a fresh coat as an exposed air duct travels busily across the ceiling as if in a mad rush to deliver oxygen to the dead. As bodies entered the minimal space there’s no missing the wooden platform stage decorated with amps, speakers, subwoofers, DJ equipment and various musical instruments. It’s clear this place is all about the music. Other elements Space2 have right are a working air conditioner and a clear audio sound system. After a few more tweaks of finesse; Space2 has the inner workings to establish itself as one of the city’s premier dance venues.

It was a wet one. Earlier rain showers had passed through the city and left a bundle of puddles and splashing waters at the Old Fourth Ward’s bustling intersection of Boulevard and Edgewood. Inside Space2 blaring horns, a groovy bass line and piercing percussions escaped the speakers. “Got Myself Together/Yeah/Gonna Get High” the lyrics from Brass Construction’s, “Movin” transitioned into “Nothing’s Been The Same/Ever Since You Came/ My Baby” the lyrics by Black Ivory’s, “Mainline.” Both oldies but goodies played to cheers and shouts and kept the dancers wet with sweat. DJ/producer/remixer/label owner Kai Alce was on the 1’s and 2’s making a musical statement of disco that morphed into classic four-count house. Then the house music was hushed in favor to make room for the night’s headliner and his guest band.

The ever outspoken Peven Everett is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. However, one thing is certain the ringmaster will keep his backup band in check. Even if the band is made up of some of the city’s finest local musicians. Clad in a black Matrix style full length jacket hanging inches well below the waist, a spring colored golden collared button down dress shirt, black draped pants and Peven’s favorite athletic shoe brand; black with gold insignia Pumas, the maestro evoked style. With a brief introduction of each band member; a drummer, a bass player, a percussionist and a keyboardist, the maestro and his musses were set to concoct some serious soul power. The drummer kick started a four-count beat with hi-hats at a comfortable pace. What a surprise as Mr. Everett launched into Stuckfrom 2006. A sea of digital imagery recorded the opening manifesto. Smiles graced faces. People cheered. They even accompanied Peven in song with vocal support. Then the issues arrived.

One of the band mates, “The I maybe blind, but I can kick some behind” keyboardist took the musical flow into an agley direction from Peven and the rest of the band members to show off some flattering keyboarding skills. The gifted musician’s fingers stroked and flowed over the black and white keys like a Stevie Wonder protege. However, Peven the visionary wasn’t feeling it. After several vocal reprimands from the vocalist (apropos in mid-song) the keyboardist stopped for a quick minute until he resumed take over duty again. Once again, Peven softly yelled with a frowned visage, “SLOW DOWN.” “STOP!!!!” “KILL THE KEYBOARD.” Epic Fail as the keyboardist carried on as if no one uttered a single restraint. On a later song, the “Put Your Back Into It” singer hushed all instruments except for the drums. Peven wanted to let his vocals shine over the drummer’s mid-tempo thump. However, the keyboardist caught up in his own world continued to produce a scatting rhythm unbeknownst to the silent instruments. So the amiable bass player stepped into action and stood alongside the keyboardist to offer considerate advice. Nope, that didn’t work. Even the keyboardist’s friend who was the party’s promoter stepped onstage to intervene with a bit of advice on following the band’s flow and not stepping out into maverick mode. Fascinatingly the musical tug-o-war proved a bit humorous.

Back to the show, Peven raced through a medley of his popular titles. The Chicagoan soulfully crooned, “Can’t Believe I Loved Her” as he seemed to stretch every note into a long drawl. The audience’s fire shrieked into an uncomfortable quietness as if the song played B-side role or filler duties. With a shake the audience reawakened for the next song. The ladies in the room blushed as they were serenaded withGirl Of My Dreams.” Particularly, one lady visiting from Louisville, Kentucky felt awed. Next, Peven motioned for the drummer to bring the beat down to a slow simmer. “Your Honor” announced the vocalist with eyes closed and mouth fixated on the microphone. “Yooour Honoooor” he repeated with that long drawl. “I Ain’t Supposed To Be Here,” he pleaded. It was the dramatic court case played out in Can’t Do Withoutthat had the crowd singing, “That’s My Story And I’m Sticking To It.” After the much serious testimony it was time to celebrate. From the recesses of the crowd came cheers and chants singing, Burning Hot.” The live interpretation brought good vibes, bright smiles and hot bodies to the floor. As Peven concluded, the song marked the end to an exhilarating roller coaster ride. But wait folks. ENCORE!!!

“I’ve never performed this song live,” Peven smiled. With a wink of the eye the showman launched into his 2010 mega hit,How Bad I Want Ya,” the mid-tempo ballad that spent several weeks on top of the deep house digital music charts produced by Soul Element AKA Stacy Kidd. The audience went wild, sang along and danced about. After another round of expressions of love for the accompanying band members (including the keyboardist) and a Peven style key-note address on “The Makings of a Music Community” the singer exited the stage and made his way to the room’s front entrance to sell CDs.

The concert seemed swift and sudden with Peven jumping in and out of several songs performing only the first verse and hook and not much else before erupting into piano solos and segueing into the next song. The solos and several acts of verbal and nonverbal directives aimed at the band proved this was more of a jam session with musicians warming up pre studio recording session than a polished performance. Instead of mimicking live vocalists/musicians that follow a defined script, Peven was allowed to freely roam about like a roaring lion correcting musicians and playing lead star. These acts were lost in translation which proved all too nauseating for most of the audience members to keep up. Should they look left or should they look right? At times, feeling a bit overwhelmed the audience played the bored card, displaying quiet vengeance. However, Peven rebounded and knew how to actuate the audience’s enthusiasm. Amidst the various musical challenges, Peven remained entertaining, playful and professional.

Photography by AJ Dance

BODDHI SATVA 17.03.12

March 18, 2012

BODDHI SATVA

Invocation means to call upon the spirit of a deity. And on this night the ancestors answered the call. The congregation of those gathered heard angelic voices of sharp high notes float amongst their midst. The fancy footwork of the living danced with the graceful oscillates of motley spirits in perfect harmony that had transitioned from this world to the next many moons ago. The ancestors lived on; they lived on through song and they lived on through dance of the ancestral soul.

DJ BE

From an empty air conditioned room to a swelling mass of sweaty and sexy foot soldiers spreading the joy of dance, Tambor’s second in command, DJ BE played opening act for two full hours. The Diversified Sounds creator sculpted a soundscape that kept the vibe sexy with melodic vocals and spoken word playing over afro-house, deep house and proper house. Tambor’s jovial congregation ate the musical offerings up like fried chicken dinners sold after Sunday morning church service. DJ BE, sporting a green beaded Saint Paddy’s Day necklace was on fire, not a rarity for one of the city’s most prolific house music ambassadors.

Much talent existed in the atmosphere. Song writers and music producers mingled with singers. Musicians and DJs posed for pictures. Dancers showered the abilities of the melody makers with audible praise. Business cards and mobile numbers made the rounds. This was a kind of musician network; a net space reserved for major house music conferences like those held in Miami and Amsterdam. For the up and coming individuals in the house music world, Tambor was the place to be.

The night’s special guests read like a who’s who of house music. Kenny Bobien, Stephanie Cooke, Marlene Perez, Zepherin Saint, DJ Roland Clark, DJ Swift Ruben Vidal and Miranda Nicole were all in the house. This was without the mention of the night’s special headlining guest, Mr. Boddhi Satva.

Boddhi Satva

Mr. Boddhi Satva AKA “Ancestral Soul” bared his humble soul and brought his signature sound to the Tribe of Tambor for his InvocationAmerican tour EP release. Born and raised in the Central Africa Republic (C.A.R.) the producer birthed a spiritual awakening on those that had gathered within the four walls of the sanctuary. With mouths open wide and smiles firmly planted between chocolate cheeks the people assembled at the front alter of the DJ stage. A mass of digital appeal shot straight into the air. Digital smartphones, digital point and shoot and DSLR cameras were seen all about recording the onstage spectacle. The room froze in a moment of time. The faint sounds of “Oohs and Ahhs” could be heard if one listened closely to the heart. All stood in eager anticipation for the musical blessings that Boddhi Satva would bestow upon them.

According to the in demand music producer one of ancestral soul’s several meanings includes; when deep house weds Congloese rumba and West African voices become mistresses while urban R&B play occasional girlfriends. The polygamy of sounds is just what Boddhi delivered to Tambor. So let’s dig a little deeper into the house that built Ancestral Soul.

The Offering Recordings founder arose to the occasion with an opening African chant before transitioning into some hardcore deepness. To watch Boddhi DJ provides a sort of amusement, much like watching a charismatic caricature muscle the stage. He whips around in circles, swivels his neck from left to right, and rotates his fist in soft round circles and slow winds to the groove. Honestly, this guy can dance. Boddhi feels the groove and conjures up the excitement with a seductive sultry dance.

Sporting some serious tribal neckwear the minister of music unleashed philharmonic gifts upon the crowd. From the depths of the soul arose singer Lynn Lockamy’s acapella from Timmy Regisford’s,At The Clubsteadily bubbling under an ancestral treatment of sanctified beats. The vocals played background to harmonious synthesizers that caused one house music lover to conclude this was an exclusive goodie. Finally, in mid-song Lynn’s vocals were set free, amplified and allowed to shine as she wailed, “We were cheek to cheek/Sex to sex.” Suddenly, warm synths fell from the heavens and wrapped its embrace around the audible vocals in a luxurious display of bride courtship that concluded in a ceremony of holy matrimony. What a mellifluous marriage between the elements of deep vocal house and ancestral soul. Spoken Word played mistress as Athenai’s vocals off Invocation’s first single; Here I Amcrept out from a dark corner to get some action. After all it was a Saturday night right? All the while urban R&B outfitters, Fantasia Borino and Dru Hill played girlfriends to the ancestral sound. Fantasia’s ballad,Free Yourselfand the late 1990’s Dru Hill hit,Beautyentered the mix with ancestral freshness. Unfortunately, both songs fell flat as only a few house heads positioned near the speakers were able to decode the audible delivery. As with most edits played before a live audience the volumes of many acapellas ride sotto voce. Kudos for dropping the two cuts but had there been additional vocal clarity the songs would have received greater audience accolades.

Fortunately, executed correctly was an ancestral take on Culoe De Song’s, “I Really Do” with Kenny Bobien’s falsetto floating flawlessly across the DJ platform as the man himself walked onstage and gave Boddhi a huge embrace. Yes folks, this was a family affair. Soon to follow, the powerhouse anthem of the night arrived from Tambor’s next month’s guest, Chicago’s own DJ Terry Hunter with,Wonderful.” Diva Terisa Griffin wailed with fiery intense that made the room all hot, sweaty and sticky. Shouts of joy resounded; arms flew in the air to praise as heads nodded with approval. The gospel-esque melody arrived right on time causing the people to catch the spirit. The dance came out in everyone-not only from DJ Stan Zeff but too his younger brother of Tribe Records UK Zepherin Saint.

From there the spirituality of Mr. Satva continued its exploration into ancestral rhythms of afro-beat, broken beat and even classic house as a drummer/percussionist took right stage and added the extra excitement of live drumming.

DJ Stan Zeff

In a surprise and rare move DJ Stan Zeff took to the stage and assumed musical closer. Tambor’s founder rocked the house with the latest interpretation from Pablo Martinez of Jill Scott’s,Hear My Callto Black Coffee’s classic global crossover,Turn Me On(Raw Artistic Soul) with the “Princess of House” Bucie belting vocal lead. As the crowd dwindled to the usual suspects of hand standers, of couples two-stepping and some of Atlanta’s finest dancers waiting for pictures, the music’s intensity only increased to a climatic end.

Tambor had done it again. The night was one of the most celebrated ever. The air was solidified with a thick presence of love. Each soul that entered the premises felt the grasp of love take hold of the heart. Even with the abundance of special guests, not one displayed airs or the need to sit in VIP. All remained grounded and humbled and yet assumed a cloak of close kinship. This goes to show at a Tambor party love reigns supreme. You can throw a party. As a matter- of-fact you can throw the best party. But without love what do you have? Just another plain old party.

Photography by AJ Dance

SOUL CLAP 16.03.12

March 17, 2012

SOUL CLAP

1980’s neon headbands, candy cane stripped leg warmers and gold trimmed aviator sun glasses danced underneath the soft red glow of a shiny disco ball. It was 1984 and the freaks came out at night. Boston boys, Soul Clap travelled the timeline of soul in a funtastic spaceship of funk. From 2003 Outkast’s, “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” to 1974 William DeVaughn’s, “Be Thankful For What You Got” the room rumbled like a travelling space ship storming through a meteor shower. The beats cruised a bit slow, the mixing of songs (at times) proved rough but the vocals were tight. Overall, SC made for a nostalgic night of boom boxes, Jheri Curls and Rubix Cubes.

Photography by AJ Dance