An R&B Only for the record books. Listen, it’s one thing to have an event that has the venue on lean. But when your set is so crackin’ that it affects parts of the nightlife ecosystem you’re not even affiliated with… that’s a whole new level of winning. Well, that’s exactly what happened when the annual of “tear the club up by way of a shoulder-led body roll” party known as R&B Only hit the Ready Room Saturday night. It was sold all the way out again this year. And this go round the folks were bustin’ a move so tough that it felt like a whole sauna up in there. You know you’re up in the hotspot when the floors are sweating! I’m so glad I wore flats, because I was sliding across that moist floor like I was low key skating. Had I been wearing even the most bite sized of kitten heels, somebody would have footage of me tumbling like my poor spiritual advisor Oprah Winfrey did the other night. But back to the party: I saw folks out in these streets in the name of R&B Only that I thought didn’t even live here anymore. They came out of hibernation, witness protection and Netflix and chill season to turn up for this party. My boys (and Ready Room staff members Jesse and B) had to turn folks away like they were doing Mary and Joseph before they had to settle on that manger. Because there was no more room at the Ready Room, folks just scooted on down to Shisha and got litty lit like it was their original destination. And then, it got to the point where they were at capacity too. It was like a young, black and fabulous fashion parade down those two little blocks of the Mangrove.
Praise parties on point. Since I’m already on the subject of baby Jesus and folks packing places out, let me tell y’all about the faith-based folks showed up Thursday and Friday night. Some might not consider this Partyline appropriate, but I have the final say. Thursday Night, “The Christi Show” audience had Helium looking like the Walmart Money Center line during income tax refund season. I know some of y’all are thinking “who and what is ‘The Christi Show?’” Well, her main character is an unruly church member named Shirleen that gives everybody the blues while wearing shoulder pads that reach the ceiling and usher flats made famous by the late great Payless Shoe Source. But back to my point: She was sold-out before she showed up and probably could have done three shows if she wanted to – at least that’s what I figure, based on how packed it was. Folks were lined up and serving up those “you lucky I’m saved” faces to voice their frustrations about how long it took to gets folks settled in. But let’s talk about the show for a bit. By now, y’all know how suspicious I am of the internet sensations who try to transition to the standup stage. And while I didn’t catch all the show because of prior commitments, what I saw of Shirleen the flesh was full of funny. When she started talking about the ladies making sure they wore a slip during sundress season, I almost fell over laughing. I can still hear her now talking about “Don’t let a sundress send you to hell.” Perhaps it’s because she was talking to me. And when she drove the ladies for settling for less – and by less she means the 2-for-$20 at Chili’s. The thought of her reenacting some woman falling out the car and playing dead if her man rolls up in the parking lot without warning still has me hollering. And on Friday, y’alls’ women’s ministries made the “Christi Show” lines look like an empty urgent care waiting room non-coronavirus season by the way they showed up to see Sarah Jakes Roberts. I knew it would be popular, but ladies were lined up for blocks to get up in Friendly Temple to see her deliver a word. She pulled numbers like her daddy, Bishop TD Jakes. Both events made me seriously consider become a praise and worship event promoter.
A classic Café Soul. I can’t ever think of a time I rolled up to a spot and was happy I couldn’t find a seat. Well, that’s what happened on Friday when I trotted up in House of Soul for the February edition of Café Soul. It was giving me Lucas Schoolhouse vibes by the way the crowd came out to support and the caliber of talent that stepped to the microphone. That gentleman named Tony who tore the house down with his version of Kem’s “Love Calls,” When hit that “When your heart is broken….and your wounded pride is laid to rest,” I was like, ‘oh, he’s been training for this moment since the song first hit the radio.” And I’m so glad he did. And whoever that woman was singing the Fugees version of “Killing Me Softly” got it in too. I was thrilled to see Nichol and the Café Soul crew clock a major win like they did Friday. Keep that same energy for the March edition.
Mvstermind making more major moves. My weekend started and ended in the Mangrove thanks to nationally renowned St. Louis born and bred rapper Mvstermind. He set up shop in Seoul Taco Friday for an intimate set that reminded me why he will always be one to watch. Not only has he mastered his craft, but he is one of the most enterprising rappers in the game, in St. Louis or anywhere else. He has a shoe deal with Dr. Scholl’s, appeared at Seoul Taco as part of a paid partnership and it’s no telling how many other deals he has that are giving him streams of revenue on top of the music. And while he is getting coins on the commercial tip, he isn’t forsaking his fans by focusing so much on the business side of things that it affects the quality of his music.
Badu-ing with Biko. Saturday night my soul wouldn’t have let me be anyplace else if I hadn’t stopped by James Biko on the tables paying tribute to Erykah Badu at UrbArts. I was thrilled that this was the venue because I got one more chance to see that glorious Black History Month visual art exhibit that was curated by Kristian Blackmon. As I expected, Biko had those speakers blazing with his impeccable taste. He took things outside of Badu here and there, but it all fit perfectly within the evening’s vibe.