Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Friday 11/28: AfroFuturistic @ Underground Wonder Bar

Friday November 28th 2014
Soulful Cosmic Indigenous Dance Music

Featuring DJs
Sean Alvarez
Rae Chardonnay

Hosted by
Discopoet Khari B

Underground Wonder Bar (downstairs in the basement)
710 N. Clark St
$5 Cover

AfroFuturistic is a celebration of emerging creative and progressive ideas & actions rooted in the African diaspora. We connect with our ancestral roots by using our spiritual antennas as well as follow the blueprint of our elders to broadcast our vibrations through sound, energy, and movement. The sound is deep, melodic, electronic, indigenous, cosmic, creative, jazzy, soulful & spiritual and possesses the rhythmic textures of dance/house music. The momentum, energy, and vibe of the music creates residual effects of enlightenment and satisfaction of the soul. Join us Friday November 28th 2014 as we celebrate this sacred art form and collectively send positive vibrations into the universe and await their return. Journey with us to the next level as we conduct a current to electrify your mind body and soul!
Join us every month as we celebrate Afrobeat, Cosmic Soul, and Deep Underground House Music!

Weekend in Review: Stevie Wonder ATL

As I journeyed to Atlanta this past weekend, it would be a time filled with musical and culinary bliss. The motivation behind this trip was to check out Stevie Wonder performing Songs In The Key of Life.  After not getting advance tickets and for some strange reason thinking the United Center box office would be open after the show started I missed the show in Chicago.  While in the lobby of the United Center waiting to be notified the box office was closed I did get a small snippet of the show as “Black Man” was being performed and man did it sound AMAZING!  Upon leaving disappointed I felt that small portion of music was enough nourishment to satisfy my soul and would satisfy me enough so I wouldn’t feel bad about missing the performance. That is until I received feedback from a few friends whose musical opinion I value tremendously.  When they literally struggled to put into words how great the show and sat there with dazed looks on their faces as if they were having a tough time coming back down to earth I began to think about how I can see this show before the tour ends on 12/20/14.  After initially wanting to catch the final show in LA on the afore mentioned date I realized this could be quite the risk as the weather in Chicago around that time can be unpredictable. Therefore, I chose another alternative, which would be checking the show in Atlanta (and I’m glad I did).  What an Awesome weekend! Atlanta is like a second home for me not only because I lived there for 11 years (during and after college) but also have close friends and family that reside there.

Arriving in town late Friday afternoon I was able to catch up with friends, have dinner, and have an always enligtening hip hop discussion with my man 50 Grand DJ Mars like it was freshman year in Brawley Hall. With the discussion ending it was time for me and a very good lady friend to head to dinner then go to check Mars’set a little bit later at the club in Buckhead. This would be a good start to the weekend. Dinner was awesome and so was the party. Mars did an great job of rocking the party all night with a mix of popular songs of today and club classics of the 90s with the beautiful babies (nice looking women) in attendance. He put on a clinic of going from various genres seamlessly while keeping a continuous upbeat vibe plus his blends and programming were very much on point. I never thought I would enjoy partying in Buckhead but did and was in good company with homies from the crib and one who I’ve know since high school.

Saturday couldn’t get here soon enough as this was the moment I was waiting for... Stevie Wonder's performance of Songs In The Key Of Life performance at Philips Arena and Wonderfull featuring DJ Spinna at Sound Table. After parking my rental car at Sound Table then catching an Uber toward Philips Arena I decided to “pregame” in proper foodie fashion at Legal Seafoods and indulge in a culinary favorite…cream of crab soup. After a delicious dining experience and upon meeting a few friends at the bar we decided it was time to walk a few blocks to Philips Arena for the show. 

With anticipation building we proceeded to our seats and I was very satisfied with the view. I was also happy to be seated in the last row in my section, which allowed for standing, dancing, being jubilant and even doing jumping jacks if I felt like it without disrupting anybody’s view.  The show began around 8:35pm after a few kind words from Stevie.  The songs followed the order of the album and of course it sounded Amazing.  There was a 30-piece orchestra like situation taking place, which included 6 background singers at a time, a huge brass section, a violin section, 2 drummers, 2 percussionists as well as extra keys, bass, and guitar.  Stevie had 2 keyboards a Grand Piano along with another piano off to the side and a few more instruments at his disposal.  India Aire would also be featured on a few songs to substitute for female vocals from the original recording.

Atlanta definitely brought the energy.  While at WONDER-Full, which would serve as the after party I asked some of the band members their favorite tour stop and they mentioned Atlanta citing the energy of the crowd as the primary reason.  Days before this show I pretty much stayed away from social media because I did not want to get an idea of different things that took place during the show and wanted to keep my mind fresh with no expectations so I could have my own unadulterated experience.

Although, this show in Atlanta was superb and qualifies as one of the top 3 performances I’ve ever seen, upon returning to Chicago the next day I soon learned why so many people in Chicago were left speechless and in a state of amazement.  While performing “Joy Inside My Tears” Stevie began to tear up which triggered a reaction of watershed from many people in the arena.  As someone who has experienced a sensory overload from such powerful vibrations and energy of music that has at times forced me to shed a tear, I can only imagine the vibe of this show from that point on as being something very special that defies description. 
Nevertheless, the show in ATL was filled with Love, was a Joyful celebration, and at times could draw parallels that would prompt the saying, “Stevie and his band/orchestra went to Church”.  This too was special in it’s own right. The crowd was feeling good and reciprocating the energy that was coming from the stage.  It was pretty electric. 

After going through the entire album with a bonus song in between the performance closed with “Another Star” and Janelle Monae surprised the crowd with her presence and vocals on the last part of the song.
While the couple next to me attempted to leave thinking the show was over, I encouraged them to stay because an encore was certain.  During the encore Stevie turned into his alias DJ Tick Tick Boom and geared us up for another amazing segment of the show filled with many fan favorites. What was interesting about this was it appeared that Stevie began the DJ Tick Tick Boom segment of the show by using the tone and rhetoric of someone who uses ignorant wisdom.  As the encore continued Stevie’s or should I say DJ Tick Tick Boom’s personality began to gradually shift towards with each song as someone possessing more enlightenment and maturity and by the time the encore almost ended he transformed back into Stevie Wonder.  This was interesting because it felt as though Stevie was modeling his behavior with DJ Tick Tick Boom in the way of a messenger or prophet who is able to communicate and spread the message of Love while being able to address various walks of life and meet them on their level. Now with the show and encore complete I received a huge thank you from the couple sitting next to me and my soul received a true sense of nourishment from witnessing a legend during a one of a kind performance.  

Part Two…
With phone battery dying, catching an Uber would not be an easy feat so I hopped the train to make things as simple as possible as I never underestimate the power of public transportation (even in Atlanta). Next stop was Sound Table to check out WONDER-Full with DJ Spinna.  This was special as well and would be the first time Atlanta would host this Stevie Wonder tribute party.  The first time I attended Wonderfull was in LA close to 9 years ago and have been to two in Chicago.  This one however I would have to say is the best one I’ve attended.  The music, sound system, venue, and crowd were all the way live, fly and wonderful. Spinna straight up clowned on the 1&2’s and did a great job of programming, was very creative, and provided a groove to keep people losing their mind on the dancefloor (and yes many of them could cut a rug). Even towards the end of the night as the crowd began to dissipate the cuts just kept coming while he did a great job of sending us home feeling Good. 

As I return to Chicago feeling renewed, rejuvenated, refreshed, and motivated,
I can’t help but feel blessed to be able to experience such a great weekend and 2 awesome events in one day and thoroughly enjoyed my time the entire weekend. Thanks ATL!  

If you have not planned on seeing the Songs In The Key Of Life performance when it comes to your city I strongly recommend you make the investment and treat yourself to something special.

Thanks for reading!

If you don’t know…you betta ask somebody

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Thursday 11/20: The Promontory Social Club

Thursday 11/20: 5pm-11pm
The Promontory Social Club
featuring social beats by
DJ Sean Alvarez
Join us Thursday evening for a soulful and jazzy mix of music and socializing.

5311 S. Lake Park
Hyde Park Chicago
No Cover