95.7 RnB inaugural Soul Music Festival Saturday night at the Hampton Coliseum was a musical delight for R&B enthusiast and purveyor s of classic soul and R&B. The near capacity crowd was treated to quality, unforgettable tunes that stayed with you long after the show ended.
Chrisette Michelle opened the event. While she doesn't yet have the musical pedigree like the other established acts on the bill she more than delivered. She's one of those singers with a remarkable voice. It's a shame that she's so underrated because she's the real deal. Her interaction with the audience was exceptional. She was very friendly and relatable. Chrisettte was near perfect in her stage presence and her vocals were 5 star quality. I've got a feeling we'll be hearing more from Chrisette Michelle. Don't sleep on her.
Mint Condition was the next act and they got right down to business with heir high-energy performance. No background singers. No dancers. No flashy pyrotechnics. None of that! Just a helluva band all by themselves. Mint Condition has been one of my personal favorites since they burst on the scene back in the mid-1980s. Saturday night was the first time I ever had the pleasure of seeing them live – and I'm glad I did. Lead singer Stokley Williams is a natural performer. A beast! I just wish that they would've kept a little more to the original sound of the songs that made them popular and I was disappointed because they didn't perform You Got Me Swinging.
Stephanie Mills graced the stage after Mint Condition. Her performance was nothing short of spectacular! She delivered everything I personally hoped for and more. Steph still has it going on at age 57 with her youthful exuberance and dynamic vocal delivery. She hasn't lost a note or missed a beat. She sang her greatest hits as well as one of Beyoncé's. Each and every song was invigorating and Steph had the house jamming and celebrating love and life. The only drawback was the length of her performance. I didn't' want her to end.
The Whispers, who keep getting better with time, closed the evening. Their set was like listening to a K-Tel's greatest hit cd. With soooo many hits under their belts, they had to do several medleys to include their most popular songs. What really made their performance remarkable was their band. Not only were they a-list musicians, they all synchronize their dance moves with the Whispers dance moves while continuing to play their instruments!
All in all the 95.7 RnB inaugural Soul Music Festival was an unforgettable concert experience. For those who heard this music the first time around, welcome home. For those who were hearing it for the first time, please to meet you.
My wife and sons would beg to differ whenever I make that rallying cry. You see for years I was an ardent Washington fan. I love DC. I think it’s the most interesting and powerful city in the world. We bought our first home there. I started my radio career at the Navy Radio News service while stationed at the Pentagon. I was there during the team’s glory days. When guys like Doug Williams, Art Monk, John Riggins and that powerhouse front line known as the hogs reign supreme. Notice here that I have yet to refer to the NFL franchise by its mascot name. I’m taking a stand with Native American’s – the indigenous people of this country - who feel that the name is a derogatory slur. They want it dropped and I agree with them. Sure the term has been romanticized over the decades. But as anyone who grew up on a steady diet of TV westerns know that the term was used as an attack on one’s humanity
I came of age politically while living in DC. I was a member of Operation PUSH. I marched alongside Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Dick Gregory and countless others in an effort to push legislation recognizing Dr. King’s birthday a national holiday. But I don’t think Washington’s football team is entitled to slander native people. I could love the team without the name
Besides, I got nothing but love for Texas. When I was a younger man in search of adventure and the ultimate party, I ran off and joined the Navy. After boot camp I got stationed in a Texas town so small few Texans have heard of it. Beeville, Texas. It was an advance jet training command stuck out in the boonies to perhaps avoid an aircraft mishap. What a bust. But after about a year being there, I met a beautiful young woman who later became my wife. I bought my first set of wheels there. A 1972 Grand Torino with a 351 Cleveland engine. The kind Starsky & Hutch drove. So I have fond memories and strong ties to Texas. And no matter if my family welcomes me to the fold - I’m here. Unless Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington franchise, join the many states and school district across the country in refusing to say it’s ok to marginalize native people.
Now how ‘bout them Cowboys?
I donated blood last Friday for the second time in my adult life. Youâre probably thinkingâ¦no big whoop. Well it is for me. Iâm a bit squeamish when it comes to needles and the thought of blood being drained from my body. It used to be scary but all that changed recently. Our sister station Z-104 conducts blood drives frequently here at the station. I got to see the dedicated people from the Red Cross and the many donors who unselfishly gave two of lifeâs most precious commodity â their time and their blood. I was compelled to do the same. And I feel good about it! I discovered that I have A- type blood. Itâs a rare, yet powerful type that only 6% of the population has. I also learned recently while conducting an interview with Judy Anderson, Executive Director of the local Sickle Cell Association, that sickle cell patients often need blood transfusions. My younger and only brother passed away years ago due to complications from sickle cell. I now take comfort in knowing that my blood could improve the quality of life of someone like my brother who passed away at an earlier age. If youâre a blood donor â bless you. If not, please consider becoming one. Consider it an investment in your or someone you love life.
(Be sure to check out my interview with Judy Anderson of the Sickle Cell Association 7am, Sunday, November 2nd during our community affairs segment â Hampton Roads Perspective. And make plans to attend their Sickle Cell Celebrity Black Tie and Benefit Gala. Details at the Community Affairs/PSA page here on our website.)
Where Have All The Great RnB Bands Gone?
If you’re a purveyor of smooth RnB from yesterday and today you’re probably just as ecstatic as I am about our Soul Music Festival at the Hampton Coliseum next Saturday night. In addition to enjoying the grown-folk sounds of The Whispers, Stephanie Mills and Chrisettee Michelle , I’m especially looking forward to seeing Mint Condition. Mint Condition represents the last of the dazzling, highly energetic live bands. In the early 90’s, they were the only high-profile R&B band with a major-label recording contract. They’re seeped in the tradition of great bands from back in the day like Earth, Wind & Fire, The Ohio Players, The Isley Brothers and most recently Tony! Toni! Tone! Sadly, there are no major high-profile R&B bands these days. Young people don’t play in bands like they did when I was growing up. Back in my day, every high school had at least two or more group of kids who played instruments in a band. I don’t think you can find that nowadays. I can only think of just a handful of tight local R&B bands. Ra Jazz comes to mine. So does Kustom Made (shout-out to my man Terry). The only place today where you can find young people developing their sound and their chops is in the church. But if you love smooth grooving music that’ll get your head nodding and your hips swaying along with the music – be sure to be at our Soul Festival next weekend when the curtain goes up on Mint Condition.
For the like of me I can’t fathom the popularity of TV reality shows. Particularly The Real Housewives of wherever variety. You know the type. I’m talking about the ones where they assemble upwardly mobile, attractive women who behave ugly. What’s so entertaining about that? Reality TV is akin to WWF wrestling. No. I take that back. Participating in the WFF involves a degree of athleticism. To be in a reality show you pretty much have to be devoid of civility, easily provoked and lacking compassion. Glamorized vulgarity and a sense of materialism are also desirable. There’s nothing “real” about reality TV. People change whenever there’s a mike or camera around. They become self-conscience of how they look and speak. Reality TV shows may not be scripted but I’m sure the participants are given some sort of story line to follow, and are probably coached in what to say or how to behave. Even the term reality TV is bogus, a misnomer, a contradiction of terms. I watch TV to escape reality. If I wanted reality, I’d shut the TV off and talk with my sons about their goals in life.
On second thought – pass me the remote.
What Up! What Up! What Upppp!
I got a chance to catch comedian Earthquake at the Virginia Beach Comedy Club over the weekend. Big man blew up the spot! His biting satirical views on interracial dating, the military, parenting and relationships where hilarious and was expected from an A-list comedian. Bu what impressed me most about his performance – what was most unique was his stage persona? Watching his performance was like hanging out at the barbershop listening to that one dude who can have everyone in stiches the minute he walks into the shop Watching Earthquake perform reminded me of the late Miles Davis. Like Miles, Earthquake would often turn his back to the audiences or lean against the wall as if he was reflecting. He didn’t necessarily tell jokes – like Miles – he riffs. In fact he would often say aside, “this ain’t comedy…this is real life.” His brand of humor while funny and oftentimes risqué was always thought-provoking and brutally honest.
Check him out the next time he comes to the Virginia Beach Funny Beach Comedy Club and be sure to check out my interview with Earthquake at Facebook.com/957rnbnatio.com.
I live in a two-story home. Every year transitioning from summer to winter means it’s time for my delicate balancing act with our thermostat and vents. You know where the downstairs thermostat has to be at least five degrees lower than the one upstairs, or you have to close a bunch of vents downstairs so the heat is distributed evenly? (Or do we close the ones upstairs –???) Well this year there’ll be no more dueling thermostats thanks to my friends at House Call. Last month Raymond and Scott from the House Call Company gave us a FREE home energy checkup at our place. They pointed out that I could really improve comfort and air quality by properly sealing and insulating my attic. They said during the summer months the cool air in the attic falls downstairs leaving space upstairs for attic air to penetrate into my home (maybe that’s why I have to take a daily shot of nasal spray to ward off sinus attacks?) The reverse happens in the winter. Air from the crawlspace comes up into the living space. So a couple of days ago I had them air seal ALL the spaces where air could penetrate: Around HVAC and plumbing pipes/ducts, light fixture sockets and wiring & cable outlets. They added baffles over my attic’s air vents to help force air up the roof line. They even insulated and put in weather strips over the attic access door and additional insulation to the entire attic space. I already notice a difference in comfort and I’m banking on a difference in my heating and cooling bill. You want to shrink that energy bill and improve the comfort and air quality of your home? Check the pros out at the House Call Company - 394-3403 to schedule a FREE Home Energy Check-Up. And let me know how it goes! Or check them out online at HouseCallCompany.com.
This is what my attic looked like with 3 inches of insulation required by home construction code)
The pros at House Call added over 3 times the amount of existing insulation to prevent me from breathing escaping attic air.
Here’s what a properly sealed attic with 17 inches of insulation (R49) looks like. Who knew?
Trend alert! Bowties are making a comeback. Just ask Blaine Stewart, morning anchor at WTKR-News Channel 3. He sported one this morning. I wore my most recently purchased bowtie to church last Sunday and got tons of compliments and admiring glances. Back in the 70’s I wore one to a Jackson Five concert complete with a big apple cap and a pair of knickers (I hope no pictures are circulating). Everyone rock them back then. Remember the butterfly bowtie? I consider bowties and seersucker suits something of a southern tradition. Every country doctor and lawyer wore them. (Magicians, clowns and Pee Wee Herman wear them to but that’s beside the point). Now day’s bowties combine a sophisticated edge and Old World style. They seem hard to tie at first but with practice it’s actually quite easy – just think of tying a shoelace knot. Whatever you do, don’t wear a clip-on. They’re also a good look – if you’re a 12-year-old.
Awww the weekend. After the monsoon-like rain we had the past week I couldn’t wait to get out and tackle the yard. I take pride in my surroundings. My yard won’t win the yard of the month award but I keep it mowed and the edges nice and tight. My sons think I’m obsessed. It’s not an obsession - its pride in ownership. A home is the biggest purchase most of us will make in our lifetime. It just makes sense to me to maintain its curb appeal.
The rain increased the mosquito population. There were 5 reported cases of West Nile Mosiquotes bites Virginia Beach. (I heard it on the radio). Not sure how dangerous West Nile mosquito bites are but it doesn’t sound good.
More annoying than West Nile mosquitos are the squirrels in my backyard. I enjoy feeding songs birds. I have several bird feeders which I fill with a variety of birdseed to attract finches, blue birds, robins and hummingbirds. But the pesky squirrels devour seeds before the birds can get to them. I’ve tried everything to deter them – moving the feeders away from the fence and trees. I even pluck down $19.99 for a squirrel-proof feeder that the squirrels ate through. I can remember coloring cute pictures of squirrels and rabbits back in elementary school. When did they go from cute cuddly critters to backyard terrorists?