Random Music

Today is Day 11 of my 30 days of blogging challenge Today's prompt - Put your iPod on shuffle & list the first 10 songs that pop up.

Awesome.

I loves music. I had to replace my iPod with a 160GB classic model so that I could hold all my music, shows, movies and podcasts all in one place. My music collection is around 6000 songs, tho I admit I have a good amount of stuff that I don't listen to. I'd bet that some stuff I don't listen to is going to come up when I hit shuffle.

I love to listen to my iPod on shuffle. I get reacquainted with songs and artists I haven't listened to in a while. I rarely listen to an entire album on my iPod. I generally listen to podcasts, playlists or put it on shuffle.

So...and hit shuffle...and here's what came out...

"Problems" by Next - so don't judge me, but I loved that first Next album. Even though I hate "Too Close" it had some other good joints on it, and this is one of them. It's a duet with some random chick.

"Happy Holidays" by Andy Williams - yes my Christmas playlist stays on my iPod all year round! I love classic Christmas songs, cause I associate them with my childhood. The version has to be really good for me to enjoy a current artist doing their version of a classic like Happy Holidays. I actually love Peggy Lee's version of this song more than this version.

"Free Your Mind" by En Vogue - and we've reached the first song that I don't like. I only have it cause it was on an En Vogue greatest hits album I bought. This song annoys me, I prefer other En Vogue songs.

"Ode to Badu" by Jay Electronica - I'm not a Jay Electronica fan but I like this one. I got familiar with this song cause it was included in a Singles Awareness Day mixtape that I downloaded (and love).

"Sock It 2 Me" by Missy Elliott - I loves this song, it might be my favorite Missy song. A classic from her first album. Remember that video?

"Slow Love" by Usher - this was from Usher's first album, the one with "Can You Get With It?" and "Think Of You" on it. Let me tell yall, teenage Jubi played the hell outta this TAPE when it came out! I'd be holed up in my room listening to Usher on repeat daydreaming of the days when I'd have a boothing. Whenever I hear a song from this album I always think about my teenage years...

"Pulling Me Back" by Chingy - don't judge me for this one. I liked it since it sampled SWV's "Rain" and I actually like Tyrese's illiterate ass on the hook.

"Backseat Freestyle" by Kendrick Lamar - Loves me some Kendrick, but it took me a minute to like this song.

"More Than A Woman" by Static Major - this is actually an early demo of Aaliyah's "More Than A Woman" that was included on a compilation of a bunch of recordings that were left after Static Major's death. There are elements in this demo version that ended up in the final song, but the versions are very different.

"Guilty Conscience" by Wiz Khalifa - off one of his recent mixtapes. I'm ehhh on this song but I liked this mixtape.

There you go - 10 songs from my iPod on shuffle...interesting mix.

Bilal at Dakota Jazz Club

Monday night I joined my friends to see Bilal perform at the Dakota Jazz Club. I'm not the hugest Bilal fan, but I liked him enough to see him, and the Dakota is a great venue for intimate shows. After seeing Eric Roberson & Lalah Hathaway at the Dakota in 2011, I expected a really great show from Bilal.

Showtime was 7pm, so I arrived by 645pm. ..and the venue was half full...weird. I took a seat at my table, ordered, chopped it up with my friends. We're waiting & waiting & waiting for the show to start. Eventually the band comes out...at 750pm..almost an hour after the initial start time.

Bilal takes the stage & begins his first song...and it doesn't sound the greatest. He's also alone - no backup singers. He interrupts the song to inform the audience that he didn't have a soundcheck & that the mic wasn't working properly. Ummm, excuse me, but isn't having soundcheck part of your job, as a working musician? After the song, he disappears for a few & someone from the Dakota replaces the mic. The show continues...but you can tell the audience is definitely not into the show. At one point, the other 4 ladies at my table were on their phones texting, tweeting, Facebooking & even reading their Google Reader. Yeah...

Bilal did do my faves, "Soul Sista" and "Sometimes" which I appreciated & he sounded great doing them. But the show also left a lot to be desired. He didn't do any of his duets, as he didn't have any background singers (which I'd love to know why). And he only performed maybe 6 or 7 songs, before he left the stage around 850pm. He come out to do one final encore song...and that was the end of the show.

Some pics from the limited amount of time Bilal was on stage:

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I braved the cold in Minnesota, on a Monday night after work...for that???

I'd hate to say it, but my friends were the most entertaining part of the night! Starting with B, who spent the night talking to her "man" ERRO (who is doing a show in Mpls on Feb 7)...she was up close & personal with this flyer all night!

That's B & her "man"

She talked to that flyer so much that my girl SS had to do something about it...

Violence is never the answer, right?

And some quotes from the night:

"It's like we sat in on someone's band practice"

"He's giving me Tommy Davidson from In Living Color"

"All I gotta say is Randy Watson" (complete with hand movements)

Before I left, I did snap a pic with Bilal...thanks?

Bilal & I

Seriously tho...I could have stayed home & got some rest...*sigh*

 

 

Mint Condition at First Ave

So I've lived in Minneapolis for a while, but before last weekend I had never gone to see Mint Condition. Considering that they are a local group, I really had no excuse. With the release of their new album, they did a show at First Ave & I went with my women's group. First Ave as a venue is great for standing room only shows. Yes, that First Ave made famous by Prince & The Time & immortalized forever in Purple Rain. I'd only been there one other time so I was excited to see Mint Condition rock the stage. Doors opened at 8pm with a start time of 9pm & initially I wondered were everyone was - the venue was so empty! But it quickly began to fill up & the people watching was a premium while we waited for the show to start. First, every Black person in the Twin Cities was at the show & let me tell you, I saw all kinds of folks. There were the cat daddies in their shiny shirts & playa hats, literally trying to hit on every woman under the age of 50 that came across their path. One man told my friend that he got all his clothes in Chicago...I suppose he was trying to impress her with that info? I saw somebody's mama in a gold lamé pants & jacket combo. I saw several older men with long fuzzy dusty braids (sir, really?) and I even saw a shaggy Jheri curl. Epic people watching indeed.

The opening act was a local woman & she was an ok singer, but wasn't a good performer. She sang to her backing track & it was just her on stage & she didn't keep the audiences attention. She had an Erykah Badu-esque thing going on, with a long body-skimming dress & a headwrap. She performed 4 songs & I saw most of the crowd talking through it. At the end she announced that she wasn't getting paid for the show so please buy her CD...umm ma'am, that's not the way to get folks to buy your stuff! After she left the stage, we had another 30 minutes of people watching...I saw some of the single men trying to holla, & I was told by a tipsy woman that I should remain childless as long as possible LOL.

At 10pm Mint Condition finally hit the stage! I had a pretty good view off to the left side, about middle distance to the front of the stage. The entire band performed - keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, and a horn section which was awesome. They started the show with selections from their new album, Music @ the Speed of Life. And of course, they had to do a lot of their older stuff, which is the stuff I love. Stokely was full of energy, and so was the rest of the band, and they really put on a great show. The crowd was into it & everyone sang along, especially with the older stuff. They performed for a total of 2 hours & did all their hits - Whoa, What Kind Of Man Would I Be, If You Love Me, So Fine, and more. They also did Not My Daddy, that horrible song they did with Kelly Price, but they had Paris Bennett (from American Idol) do the female part. In case you didn't know, she's from Mpls. Anyway, they did the fake leave the stage thing & then came back to do Pretty Brown Eyes. BTW, I wish artists would stop doing that. We know you're gonna come back to do your most famous song! Just do the damn song!

Some shots from the show:

 

Overall, I had a great time, even though at the end of the night my feet were screaming. Mint Condition puts on a great show.

Eric Roberson at Dakota Jazz Club - The Encore

In October, I began my Epic Week of Concerts with my very first Eric Roberson show at the Dakota Jazz Club here in Minneapolis. I have loved Eric Roberson for a long time & I had been dying to see him live. It was well worth the wait because his show was AMAZING! Entertaining from beginning to end & he was even nice enough to take pics & sign CD's for everyone. Overall, a great show and a great night. So when I learned that he was coming back for another show, I was super excited. And so was my friend B - who not only hounded me about getting tickets, she tried to pimp me out via Twitter for better seats!

It was another late night show, doors opened at 10 and the opening band took the stage a little after 1030pm. Unfortunately, our seats weren't as good as they were for the first show; we were 3 tables back from the stage & on the other side. But we still had a good view of the show.

Eric took the stage around 11PM & put on yet another great show. The set was pretty much identical to October's show, even down to the jokes (booo) but it was still enjoyable. And I still love Eric's voice more live than I do on CD. The end of the show was a bit different though, which was nice.

One change was that instead of singing Lalah's part on "Dealing" himself, Eric asked a young lady to come on stage. She didn't know the words, but she has a great voice & she did a great job.

And of course, at the end of the night, Eric signed CD's & took pics with everyone. I absolutely love that part, not many artists are that gracious with ALL of their fans. But he is. I didn't get a pic this time, but I did have him sign a CD since I didn't get one last time. B had to get another pic, OF COURSE, she's turned into quite the ERRO stan.

Overall, even though the set was mostly the same from October, I really enjoyed the show. I adore Eric's voice & it's even better live. I was entertained, the music was great, and B was hilarious.

Next up? Might be Mint Condition in January, followed by Childish Gambino (again) in March.

My Epic Week of Concerts - Van Hunt at Bunkers

If you've been keeping score, my epic week of concerts had Eric Roberson & Lalah Hathaway in the win column, and Wale in the loss column. My last show for the week was Van Hunt at Bunkers. I've loved Van Hunt's brand of neo-soul/rock/blues fusion since the first time I heard "Dust" and I'm a big fan of his under-appreciated talent. For the Saturday night show, I met up with my friends B & J, and we carpooled to Bunkers. This was my first time at Bunkers, which I heard was a good venue for live music. When we arrived, one of the 2 opening acts were on-stage. I was greeted by a racially mixed crowd, which is very common here in the Twin Cities (and I appreciate). We grabbed some seats in the back of the bar & chatted while the opening acts played.

The first opening act was a local soul cover band, who sounded great. After about 15 minutes the 2nd opening act took the stage. I can only describe their sound as...interesting. It was very agnst-y, the type of music you'd listen to while depressed & reading Sylvia Plath. Most people in the venue didn't seem to be into their performance...which seemed to drag on forever.

Finally the second group finished their set, and we moved closer to the stage to have a good view for Van Hunt's performance. He & his band finally took the stage & the crowd immediately got into the music. There was one young lady who was really into it, so much that she kept screaming & flailing her arms all over, ugh.

As I said, I'm a Van Hunt fan...but I was not very into his show. He performed a lot of music from his recent album, which is a much different sound than his previous two albums. He did perform songs that I love, like "Dust", "Down Here In Hell With You" and "Seconds of Pleasure"...but he changed the arrangements which made them less enjoyable. He gave them more a hard rock edge, instead of keeping them smooth & mellow.

Was the music great? Absolutely. But Van Hunt's sound has transitioned to a more hard rock vibe, and I'm a fan of his more neo-soul/blues-y stuff. So the show was just "ok" for me - not stellar but not horrible either. And considering that admission was only $12, I'd say it was worth the price of admission.

I ended the week of epic concerts with 2 great shows & 2 "ehh" shows. Every show wasn't stellar, but having the opportunity to see a diverse set of acts was great.

My Epic Week of Concerts - Lalah Hathaway at Dakota Jazz Club

My epic week of concerts began with a stellar Eric Roberson show at Dakota Jazz Club, followed by a lukewarm Wale performance at Epic Event Center. Next up was Lalah Hathaway at Dakota Jazz Club. I've been a Lalah fan since I was young - I remember my dad playing her first album over & over, and I still listen to it to this day. Her voice is one of my top 5 favorites - sultry, smoky, seductive & able to convey so much emotion. If I was a singer, I'd love to have a voice like Lalah's.

Lalah did two shows at Dakota Jazz, a 7pm & a 930pm show. I opted for the 7pm because I knew I couldn't handle another late night in a row, I hadn't gotten to bed earlier than 3AM in several days & by the day of the show I was dragging. For this show, my companions & I were further back from the stage, but we still enjoyed the show.

Lalah, her band & backup singers took to the stage around 715pm & did a great mix of new stuff, old stuff & covers. She did a couple of songs off her new album (which came out this week I think ) which I really liked. She did "I'm Coming Back" from her first album (one of my faves), as well as "Breathe" which is a fave from her Self Portrait album. During her covers part she did an amazing rendition of "Summertime" which also featured her backup singers doing solos & both of them were great. She also did Anita Baker's "Angel" and EWF"s "Love's Holiday". It was during the latter song that Stokley from Mint Condition (who was chillin in the audience) came up on stage & joined in, and they sounded great together.

Lalah's set lasted about 80 minutes, including her encore. A longer show would have been great but considering they were doing 2 shows, I understand the time constraints. I enjoyed every minute of her show & I'm glad that I finally got a chance to see her live.

If you're keeping score, epic concert week is now up to 2 great shows & 1 so-so show...next up, Van Hunt!

My Epic Week of Concerts - Wale at Epic Event Center

As I said in my last post, the week of October 1 to October 7 was an epic week for live music in the Twin Cities. The week started with an amazing Eric Roberson show at Dakota Jazz Club. The next night (Sunday night) I saw Wale perform at Epic Event Center. I loves me some Wale - I wasn't a fan until his first album came out, and then I fell in love with the mixtapes. He's been on my "I would love to see him perform" list for a while, so when my friend B told me about the show, I decided I was gonna go no matter what, even if I had to go alone. In the end, my friend B came with, and I'm glad she did cause it was quite a night.

Since I knew it was both a late night (after 10pm) and a standing room only show, I decided to go comfy & casual in jeans, a cute top, cardigan & sneakers. I was in the minority - outside of B & maybe 3 other women, every other chick was in their club gear: short/tight dress, 4+inch heels,  full weave, etc. Who wears tall heels to a standing room only show? While I was waiting in line to get in (which took about 45 minutes) all the girls around me were taking off their shoes, sitting on ledges, etc. Crazy. I'm not a fan of dressing inappropriately for the venue, but all the chicks decided to dress for the club instead of a show...I should have known...

Once we got inside, we grabbed a drink while we waited for more folks to come in & the show to begin. First up were some local rap acts...which were good & terrible. Seriously, I tried to give them a chance, but I was like "huh?". No one was even paying attention to them. And they were all just "rapping" over their tracks, so you could hear the vocals on the original track. Ehhh....I'm not a fan.

After the local acts, there was another long break so I got a chance to people watch & complain on the Twitter. And the stuff I saw....Listen, when every woman in the club is wearing a trend, like let's say feather earrings, that means that it's officially over. I saw lots of women wearing stuff that they had no business putting on. Several women who were clearly trying to make it onto Your Mom Is At The Club. And even if you're 19 & a size 2, remember ladies: tight+short+cleavage = trashy/skanky. Leave something to the imagination!

Ok, my rant is over now, let's get back to the show.

Around midnight or 1230AM, Wale's tour DJ came out on the stage - FINALLY. He did a bit & then Wale's opening artist, Black Cobain. I had never heard of him before, but I liked his set. The crowd didn't seem very into him tho, I guess they were ready for Wale to finally come out.

So what time did Wale take the stage? 1AM! That's right. And keep in mind folks, Minneapolis shuts down at 2AM *sigh*. But hey, at least he finally took the stage right?

Wale did mostly album stuff, tho he threw in a few mixtape songs as well. And he also brought out Freeway, who was in town to do a benefit show earlier that weekend. Freeway definitely got the crowd hype! As Wale's show progressed, I noticed there were a bunch of broads on stage...and then of course he did "Pretty Girls". And that's when one of the broads actually started P-popping on a handstand - NO JOKE *sigh*

All during the show Wale's DJ kept shouting out their Twitter names...and then at the end of the night shouted out that to find out where the private after party was, you had to follow a certain Twitter name 0_o dude.

So yeah...I could have stayed home. I was out late on a school night & I got a less-than stellar show. I could have gotten some sleep!

Epic concert week is now batting .5000 - next up, Lalah Hathaway!

My Epic Week Of Concerts - Eric Roberson at Dakota Jazz Club

October 1 - October 8, 2011 was an epic week of concerts in the Twin Cities. Somehow the stars aligned & I got a chance to see several artists that were on my "see live" list. The first show on my agenda was Eric Roberson at the Dakota Jazz Club on October 1. When I got the email announcing his show, I think I actually let out a squeal in delight. I love love love Eric Roberson, ever since QL introduced me to his music during my trip to Charlotte. I instantly became a fan & I've been one ever since. I had heard from many acquaintances that he put on an amazing live show, so I was very excited that he was coming to Minneapolis.

The show was at Dakota Jazz Club, which is a fairly well-known venue here in the Twin Cities. It's on the smaller side, with a small stage & intimate setting. It's not the type of place that will pack in 500 people, which is great if you are in the audience.

When I learned of the show, I informed my women's group, and a group of 8 of us decided to go together. In order to get into the show, you needed a reservation since they did not issue tickets or have ticket sales online for this show (weird, I know). The night of the show, the lobby outside of the Dakota was packed with people trying to check in & also wait for the doors to open. When my friends & I made it to the front of the line to check in, we discovered that thanks to our large party, we had a table right next to the stage #yay. Talk about a great view!

Doors opened a little after 1030pm, but the opening act didn't go on until around 11PM. It was a local band, who also served as Eric's musicians. They performed a few songs before it was time for the main event.

Eric took the stage around 1130PM & he was entertaining from the moment he hit the stage! He opened with "The Newness" & his energy was great.

Between songs he joked with the audience, and since we were so close, our table was included in the antics. I ordered some fries, and during a song he actually grabbed one of my fries off the table & ate part of it!

Eric put on an amazing show & he did not disappoint. He did several of my favorites, including "Couldn't Her Me", "Dealing", and of course his new single "Picture Perfect".

During the show he solicited the audience for some random words, and then he put them together into a song. Check it out...

And he even grabbed a woman's phone & sang into it...cute.

He left the stage a little after 130AM & I did not want the music to end. The show was very entertaining & I sang along to every song (except for the new stuff of course). Afterward he took the time to sign CD's, take pics & chat with every fan in line, which was very nice. He gave my friend B & I hugs & was an absolute doll.

Epic Concert Week got off to a great start thanks to an amazing Eric Roberson show...next up, Wale!

Another One Gone Too Soon

Heard about Amy Winehouse's death thanks to the Twitter. I was immediately saddened. I loved love me some Amy Winehouse. That big voice that came out of that little woman - it captured so much emotion, so much pain, that only a gifted artist can. She was my musical Sylvia Plath - able to beautifully & sweetly express all the anguish & pain I've felt in my own life. Amy's music spoke to me in a way that will always be special.

I will forever be saddened that she wasn't able to overcome her demons. RIP Amy Winehouse.

A couple of my faves from her:

"He Can Only Hold Her"

"Me and Mr Jones"