Another great afternoon of music, one filled with some unexpected surprises (musically speaking), and some disappointments. Jose James was the pleasant surprise of the afternoon. I mean, I went into the show knowing nothing about him, but now I’d like to check out is album. He’s a young jazz-influenced singer who’s definitely got nice voice. He bears watching.
I wanted so much for Imani Coppola and Little Jackie to knock it out of the park, but something was missing. Maybe it was the same situation that befell Power Douglas when they followed Dragons of Zynth. It’s simple: When the band that goes on before you absolutely kills it, you have no choice but to rise at least to that level. The challenge today was that Little Jackie followed Janelle Monae, and Janelle had just brought it (more on this later).
Don’t get me wrong: There were some nice moments. "LOL" was solid, and I really liked the acoustic version of "Go Hard or Go Home", during which she sat on a stool and played the guitar.
Unfortunately, her signature song (at least in my book), "The World Should Revolve Around Me" just dragged. That should be on and poppin’. It’s the album’s summer jam! Maybe get a rhythm section that can put some fire up under everybody’s behind. Whatever’s wrong, Imani, you’ve got to fix it. ‘Cause right now, this is no way to win. You have the looks, the voice, the songs and a strong album. C’mon, you can do this.
Jamie Lidell? I wasn’t familiar with him going into today’s show. Unfortunately, the standard for British soul singers is Lewis Taylor, and Jamie didn’t quite reach that mark for me. And the vocorder stuff? It unfairly makes him compete, at least in my mind, with the likes of Peter Framption and Roger Troutman. Do you really want to bring those people onstage? Good news is that his band burns.
At this point, you’re probably wondering why I haven’t really talked about Janelle. I’ll tell ya: After today’s performance, she deserves her own post.