A delightful night of soul music overload. I knew that Angel Patterson was not going to be playing games with the birthday edition of her Night of Soul Searching monthly concert series when I saw her look serving a cross between Rihanna and a throwback to Vanity as Laura Charles in “The Last Dragon.” I was right. She served up a performance mashup that let the folks know she can get down on the microphone too. Then she opened the doors of the Ready Room to friends who proceeded to sing the stage down to the studs Friday night. But before we get to the singers, let’s talk about that band and the background saingas (yes, saingas)! Yo, I would probably sound like I needed a record deal if they were leading me through a musical selection – and I barely carry a tune down the street in a bucket. So, imagine you have some of the best voices you’ve heard playing off that magical mix of musicians. They were so sickeningly good that host Darius Bradford had to get in as a musical contributor, and I’m not mad. I had never heard of anybody on the bill but Angel, Terry Rogers and headliner BJ The Chicago Kid, but this show is almost certainly a shoe in for my top live shows of 2019. After Angel tore it up, Rolynne Anderson and her sultry contralto set the tone for type of singing that compels you to slap fives with your seat neighbor. When she blended “Brown Skin,” “Simply Beautiful” and “Old Town Road” I was ready to start a record label just so I could sign her. Then Keisha Renee came through with a mix of R&B remixes to country classics and gospel sound that took me up yonder. Terry Rogers repped well for the local singers too. And just when I thought when I thought I couldn’t be any more impressed, Isa Elliott said “watch this rich tone and these ridiculous runs!” And I did. I was sick when I saw the band breaking down, because I had already envisioned me getting my whole entire life from the pairing – and even more concerned when BJ The Chicago Kid took the stage with no introduction and dressed like he just finished putting up drywall in the basement. But he is not Grammy nominated for nothing! And he showed up and showed out.
Beats and bass with Enoch. Because Night of soul searching set a record for late starts, I barely got over to Sophie’s to see what my boy Enoch Raavi and his Indigenous Groove served up with “Untrapped.” Nothing but death could have kept me from it and I’m so glad I came through. It takes a special type of talent to slay turntables and an upright bass at the same time, but Enoch is exactly that. It was a splendid mix of sights and sounds that even saw Eneezy backed up by a Roaring 20s style tap dancer. All the black to basics were in the building – and it was so cool to catch up with them. There were also a handful of general population folks who looked like they wandered to the second floor of the .Zack building after enjoying a malt at the Fountain on Locust. But they didn’t seem uncomfortable or look to be unwelcomed in the least. It was quite the opposite.
Dos Salas to Africa. Since I’m talking about beautiful blackness, I might as well let y’all know about the Afro-fusion wave happening at Dos Salas Saturday night in honor of celebrity guest Michael Blackson, who was closing out a weekend engagement at Helium Comedy Club. Watching him juke to Burna Boy in that checkered suit was a whole entire vibe. I hear that him cutting a rug in the VIP was more entertaining than his stage show that was burdened with recycled material, but since I wasn’t there, I will keep quiet about it. I’ll keep it on the high note that was that pulsating beat that had the folks breaking it down in the name of the Diaspora. It was quite epic for a medium sized crowd.
A spotlight on St. Louis funny. I was going to start with the bad news since I was already talking about comedy flops, but I’m going to get right into the bright side of the Night of Love and Laughter Sunday night at The Pageant starring Jess (Allegedly) Hilarious. Anybody in that building left knowing for sure that St. Louis breeds some of the best comedy. Periodt. (yes, with a t on the end). I was gasping for air and in need of a sip from somebody’s Inogen One portable oxygen tank after Jessie Taylor, Hot Sauce, Jovan Bibbs and Maurice G. If I had never laughed again after Jessie got to talking about how folks have punished R. Kelly, but let Keith Sweat off the hook by breaking down the lyrics of “Right and a Wrong Way” the whole night, it would have been worth my time. And when the DJ played a New Orleans music track, Jessie told him that no music from that region was allowed until Master P. and ‘nem came back and made things right, my soul left my body. Then Hot Sauce got up there talking about a savage Uber driver that is still about that life as he picks up and drops off riders. It was a wrap. Jovan and Maurice did their things too and JuJu gave a decent R&B snippet. But funny ended with the locals as Jess proved that her second time was not a charm for her as a comedy headliner in St. Louis. Now before I get too deep into, I will say that the internet sensation turned actress/comedienne is as down-to-earth and personable as she can possibly be. But that has nothing to do with her properly slanging jokes on stage. She’s funny when she does her little reads and whatnot on the internet. No lie. But a full-length routine is a whole ‘notha matter. I thought she would have learned that lesson from the last visit. The best she could do was talk about roaches and how she got arrested in Cleveland. Girl show me the funny. Once I laid my eyes upon Lady Re’s St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup Winning commemorative electric blue mohawk, I kept hoping with all my might she would tag herself in, take the stage and tear the whole house down. I would not be so lucky. But I did leave there with a word for all the up-and-coming comedians and the veterans who haven’t broken through on a national level yet. If you can make people laugh here on a consistent basis, there is not an audience in the world that you can’t handle.
Good times at the galas. I must give a shout out to the glorious galas held this weekend by a couple of beloved black institutions on Saturday night. Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club had the cutest Jewels and Jerseys 60th Anniversary Gala at the Hyatt on the Arch hosted by former NFL star Brandon Williams. Tania Beasley-Jolly, girl, do you ever get it wrong? Better Family Life simultaneously held their Annual Unity Ball at the Airport Renaissance and I felt like was smack dab between Wakanda and Zamunda. Terri Robbins took Afrocentric slayage to new levels with that magnificent head piece and gown.