Navigating the Arts Vol. 4.3: Meshell at the Rock Hall

It was a last minute decision to attend the Meshell Ndegeocello show at the Rock and Roll hall of Fame, simply because there was so little advertisement!  My brother K. Moore let me know just in time and me and Kush were in the place.  All the seats were taken so we were forced to stand, but who wants to sit at a concert?!?  Not me.  So that was cool.  The real problem?  – those ridiculously priced drinks.  It was truly a one and done deal at the “bar”.

Meanwhile, the stage filled with the small band and Ms. Meshell came out dressed like a mix of avant guard, chic and hippie, with a little headwrap (rag) for ghetto measure.  I guess.  But the music did not dissapoint – not at all!  I have to admit, drummers watch drummers, and that’s what I did.  This brother was rockin’ it!  He has a very unique style, that is probably his own, plus what’s expeceted of Meshell.  He had such a balanced attack leading his rhythms with both hands, the type of stuff you practice (or when you see someone trying to show off – seen that enough)  But his switching to play the hi-hat with his left just seemed appropriate and certainly impressive.

I think he has the dream job because I know it’s not easy, but who wouldn’t want a gig with a masterful bass player where you can focus on heavy exaggerated accents throughout the show.  Now that’s fun.  Sorry, but I said I was biased…

The guy on keys was great too.  Patient, effective.  I do not want to sound like some calculated critic, just a fellow muscision who has a critical ear, but ultimately appreciates the culture and effort behind it.   You can simply see that Meshell’s band puts in the work and loves doing what ther do, it WAS that obvious.  They were seasoned performers.

Rock Hall doesn’t allow video recording, so it’s hard for me to say what songs were performed (I’m just not good with titles – but, it’s not that important to me).

Really good show.  Wish it was longer.  But it was more of a feature than an actual concert.  Definitely looking forward to seeing the Sistah Meshell again.  Message to Rock Hall… get the word out!!


Navigating the Arts Vol. 4.2: The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye is such a deep story.  It can actually be a challenge to follow if you’re not careful to pay attention to detail.  Karamu House put on a really good show in the intimate Arena Theatre.  The actors that were selected did a great job.  The only issue was that the two daughters opposite of Pecola talked just a little too proper English.  It was good for clarity, since they narrated most of the play, but just didn’t completely mesh with the other characters diction.  Other than that, the play was really good.

I recognized two of the actors, Jimmy Woody (who I met years ago at Tri-C through my brother Oliver) and one of our patrons from the library!  We were both surprised to see each other when the actors lined up to shake hands with the audience.  That was a great.  She always stood out as a library patron because she spoke several languages (which she taught herself) and was always searching for materials outside of the norm.  She played the role of Mama, Claudia and Freida’s mother.

Pecola’s mother and father (Woody) did a good  job demonstrating the extreme dynamics from a marriage at that time.  One minute deeply in love, the next they’re violent towards each other.  Sadly enough, maybe marriages haven’t changed much over the years.

For me, however, the highlight of the play was the hypnotic performance of Pecola.  She was brilliantly cast for this role.  Her scenes of sadness and weeping were so real!  Then when she repeated the simple phrases from that textbook and seemed entranced, almost possessed, when expressing her yearning for blue eyes, it was mesmerizing.

Navigating the Arts Vol. 4: Anthony David

Much appreciation to University of Akron for bringing the Keeper’s Lounge concert series!  C’mon Cleveland State, get with it!  The DJ (Krate Digga) was on point with the old school to new school mixing.  Since it was Dilla Day in Detroit, it was the perfect filler – especially after hearing (during the concert) that Whitney Houston had just died that day.

The first performer was a sister from Seattle – Choklate.  She switched from a British accent, to a Southern accent, to her native Washington state accent.  Can’t lie, it was a little confusing, mainly for me because of the relatively new explosion of British neo soul artists.  I thought she was next one!

The band played for both she and Anthony David, but unfortunately the sound man was not on his job. In fact, this guy, who was quite visible, practically stood over the board without touching it!  If you don’t know what to do, then at least get out of sight.  Consequently, the guitar was far too loud, drums were nearly non-existent (you know how infuriating it is for a drummer to watch another drummer, see sticks moving all over the heads, and hear nothing!)  Finally, the singers (David and one backup) weren’t bad, but the backup singer’s mic was distinctively more crisp than the lead.

Oh well, they still entertained, and his acoustic solo time, made up for the bad sound.  I was surprised though, because he didn’t do As Above, So Below!  That was a bit of downer.  (The Queen was mad).  We waited the whole time for it – never happened.  The band was accessible after the show, which is always cool.  The bass player even said that he told Anthony they should do As Above – win some, lose some.

Overall, it was good show.  If I was to grade it, I’d say it earned a B-, or 7.8 out of 10.  (But I don’t give grades).