The musical performances started off with hip hop artist Waheed aka Gov’t Cheese. An energetic rock infused set that hyped up the crowd. The highlight came when she closed the show with the classic hit “Scenario”.
Next up was Toronto based artist Zaki Ibrahim. Zaki, has an Eclectic sound embodies soul, hip hop and African rhythms. I wasn’t familiar with her prior to the show but I want to hear more of her now.
Emoni Fela can be described as a Punk rock rapper with a teenage appeal. She didn’t really do it for me but she connected with a lot of fans in the room.
One of the highlights of the night without question was Lizz Wright. Lizz performed three songs from her wonderful cd “The Orchard”. First her partner Toshi Reagon had to check some of the attendees in the crowd who couldn’t keep quiet during the set. At least they could keep the volume of their chatter down a few decibels. For me it’s great to watch an audience witness a very talented artist for the first time. The moment you heard the voice, you knew you were listening to a someone special. You need "The Orchard" in your collection.
One of the acts that really grabbed my attention was Slick & Rose. Their style is best described as smooth and edgy. A little of hip hop, rnb and little bit of rock as well. The result was a very entertaining set that had me searching for their music afterwards. For me, they were the surprise act of the night.
One of my favorite Indie artists on the scene is Muhsinah. Muhsinah’s sound can be best described as psychedelic soul. She is a talented writer, producer and possesses a voice very similar to Georgia Anne Muldrow. Check out her debut cd “Daybreak”. I’m so glad I got to see her. She turned in a strong performance.
Philly native Bahamadia was a recipient of the Artistic Achievement award, and well deserved I might add. Ever since she first appeared on The Roots cd “Illadelph Halflife”, she has been one nicest emcee’s in the game. It’s a shame that her latest cd “Good Rap Music” hasn’t received the distribution it deserves. That didn’t seem to matter to the crowd, who rocked alaong with her throughout her set.
Ladybug Mecca needs no introduction. The Digable Planets member and solo artist rocked several jams from her project “Trip The light Fantastic”.
Another highlight of the night for me was seeing Jaguar Wright perform live for the first time. For many, Jaguar first appeared on the scene with The Roots on Jay-Z’sUnplugged show several years back. Appearing on stage with drink in hand like the diva she is, Jaguar sang several tracks from her vastly underappreciated cd “Divorcing Neo To Marry Soul”.
Closing out the night was one of my favorite underground acts, J*Davey. Hailing from LA, Jack Davey (that’s her on the left) and Brook D’leau treated us to their brand of new wave funk. Just imagine the black Eurythmics. Yeah, you get the idea. Their shows are always off the meter and this was no exception.