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JOE
Sunday 08/09
JOE @ The Howard Theatre
$39.50 / $45
In retrospect of looking back over the past twenty years, R&B Superstar JOE Thomas crosses BRIDGES. The crooner’s new Album clearly defines his new outlook on life’s relationships and where they have taken him. Why “BRIDGES”? - “ We build them, cross them, burn them, then soon realize how much we need them” - JOE “Relationships are Bridges and at some point in life we must take full responsibility for where we have allowed those relationships to take us. Most important, what relationships or BRIDGES are we building, crossing into or burning?” The Album is described as therapeutic and open. “I must confess I’ve had my share of girls in my lifetime – honestly I’ve been on the wildest rides and maybe I should slow it down” are the opening lines of the Album’s introduction single – ‘LOVE & SEX’ PT. 2 which features the beautiful KELLY ROWLAND of Destiny’s Child and X-Factor fame. The single is widely and well received at Urban AC radio and video (directed by veteran director Bille Woodroof) with a strong reminiscence of the SOS Band days. Part one featured American Idol Fantasia and was featured on the singer’s 2013 Album release Double Back, (Evolution of R&B) which debuted #1 on the Billboard R&B charts and #6 on Billboard Top 200. When asked why the choice of Kelly over Fantasia, the R&B singer is very adamant that there is and never was a choice per say or comparison in his mind between the two. “Both are equally talented and beautiful”. If I had to describe in keeping with the concept of BRIDGES, (think of it this way), every major bridge has different levels or entrances when going across them. Your choice depends on the direction your going in. Both Kelly and Fantasia were necessary because I needed to go into two different directions for this particular song. I won’t call it a journey. That is for people to decide. I will say that it is heartfelt and relatable to past or present circumstances for any listener who embarks on BRIDGES. It is uplifting, fun and thought provoking. The biggest comment for those that I have played Bridges for is that one, you never feel like you have to skip over a particular song and that each song is enjoyable or as they say, “it reminds me of when I ….” That blank has been filled in some pretty amazing things. Songs like “Sex Ain’t A Weapon” hits hard with its strong ¾ shuffle beat reminiscent of Marvin keeps you grooving on the subject matter for the woman who chooses to hold back or deprive her man lovin’ when she feels like playing the mute game of making it easy to turn off her desire or quench his thirst for sex. Joe charismatically states “A queen B should never hold back the Honey…not later but sooner girl you’ll hear the rumor that other fish been swimming around in your sea. That’s why You Can’t Use Sex As a Weapon”. Then there’s the sure fire nostalgic Ballad entitled, If You Lose Her. I mean what would a JOE album be without one or several ballads (which he has not and never fails to deliver). The song makes JOE a spokesman for us guys to think about the consequence When Joe surveyed the landscape of modern R&B, the award-winning artist didn’t necessarily like much of what he saw. So with DoubleBack: The Evolution of R&B, the accomplished singer-songwriter-producer brings the music he loves back to its roots. “I’m going back to that old school feel, back to the elegance and class of what R&B represented back in the day,” Joe explains of his tenth studio album. “You look at the pictures from that era and they represent something very stoic. They’re beautiful photos, beautiful moments, beautiful memories. I want to get back to the beginnings of it, the humbleness of it, the way it was before with real stars, real celebrities, real entertainers who actually wrote a lot of their music and performed it with great intensity and passion. That’s what the essence of The Evolution of R&B is all about.” Classic R&B also told memorable stories, something Joe is keenly aware of. That’s why DoubleBack: The Evolution of R&B follows Joe through his search for true love. Joe kicks his new LP off with the gorgeous “I’d Rather Have A Love.” Accented by soothing guitar, finger snaps and lush harmonizing, the song traces the evolution of a man who goes from woman to woman into a man who realizes the power, joy and value of finding a woman he loves. As the album progresses, though, Joe takes a number of detours. On “Magic City,” for instance, he looks for love in all the wrong places. With the eyebrow-raising “Baby,” he details how he’s in love with two women at the same time. Then there’s “Mary Jane,” a mid-tempo tune that serves as a metaphor for having someone that releases all the stress and pressure of life. Showing the duality of life, he details the other side of a relationship on “Walk Away,” where he deals with the haters in his realm. Elsewhere, Joe finds his match on “Love And Sex,” an impassioned duet with Fantasia. Here, the two talented singers go back and forth about the wide range of emotions they’re feeling toward one another. “We’re going to town,” Joe says. “We’re emulating the feelings and the emotions of the difference between love and sex. It’s very classic and feels like something you’ve heard before. It has beautiful, touching lyrics and a beautiful story, too.” Beyond the rich storylines and dynamic storytelling, what makes DoubleBack: The Evolution of R&B remarkable is that Joe played all the instruments on the tracks he produced. In addition to having a more intimate relationship with the music, Joe decided to play his own bass, drums, guitar, and piano to show other artists how live instrumentation brings an extra element to music. “I think it’s important the younger generation sees more of that,” he explains. “They rely too much on just mechanical things, like synthesizers, beat machines. Picking up and using an instrument can change the whole mood of everything. Anytime I play around the house or on stage, it’s a completely different vibe, a different zone that I’m in. It’s really nice to expand yourself if you’re an artist, to branch out and be more than just a singer and a dancer.”
Tamia
Saturday 08/22
Tamia @ The Howard Theatre
$45 / $50
For six­time Grammy nominated singer­songwriter, Tamia, “Music is just a part of me and everything I do, every step that I take.” The Canadian­born vocal powerhouse has lived by that mantra for a career spanning over two decades and solidifying her as one of the most recognizable voices in R&B music. Tamia’s voice has become synonymous with the new definition of soul and spawned hits like ‘You Put A Move On My Heart’, ‘Stranger in My House’, Officially Missing You, ‘So Into You’ (later re­recorded with Fabolous in 2003), and the 2012 hit single ‘Beautiful Surprise’. Tamia’s first big break came when she collaborated with celebrated music producer Quincy Jones on the classic album Q’s Jook Joint in 1998, followed by the release of her self­titled debut. The debut album earned her two Grammy nominations; Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for ‘You've Put A Move On My Heart;’ Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group with Vocal for "Slow Jams" featuring Babyface, and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for her work with Brandy, Gladys Knight and Chaka Khan on the single ‘Missing You’ from the Set It Off soundtrack. Tamia’s star continued to rise in early 2000 after winning an NAACP Image Award for her chart­topping collaboration with fellow R&B singer Eric Benet, Spend My Life With You, which was also nominated for a Grammy award that year. As anticipated, Tamia’s next few albums would be brimming with timeless music that perfectly encapsulated her unforgettable vocal abilities. With the release of Tamia's fifth studio album Beautiful Surprise, the singer explored various genres of music, blending her special passion with each style and making them her own, showing her creativity as an artist. The album earned Tamia another two Grammy Awards in 2013: Best R&B Song and Best R&B Album for Beautiful Surprise, a first for a Canadian artist. A modern day woman and matriarch, Tamia balances her artistry and career with being a supportive wife to husband and NBA Hall of Famer, Grant Hill and a loving mother to her two daughters. Together, Tamia and her husband created The Grant Hill and Tamia Foundation where they continue to be recognized for their philanthropic involvement with several charities. Tamia is also the founder of Plus 1 Music Group, which successfully released three studio albums Between Friends, Greatest Hits and Beautiful Surprise. Tamia’s beautifully crafted sound is a reflection of her many inspirations and her innate ability to master genres from R&B and neo soul, to gospel, jazz and hip hop soul. “After 20 years I continue to be inspired by the places I visit and the people I meet, which allows me to include a piece of my experiences in the art I create.” After signing with Def Jam Recordings in the summer of 2014, Tamia immediately began working on her sixth studio album collaborating with an impressive list of hitmakers. The sultry vocal stylings sift perfectly into the R&B melodies of production offered by some of the most notable producers in the music industry. “Sandwich And A Soda” is the sexy debut single off Tamia’s highly anticipated forthcoming album “LoveLife”, set for release in June 2015.
The Orb
Sunday 09/13
The Orb @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $30
It started with a Joke, audacious dub science and some cassettes of New York radio's revolutionary master mixes of the late 70s-early 80s. Killing Joke marked Dr Alex Paterson's entry into the rock 'n' roll world, as both roadie and encore vocalist haranguing his way through the Stooges' 'No Fun' & ' bodies ', while golden age dub reggae and New York sound shifters such as Shep Pettibone and Tony Humphries fuelled his desire to take sound to realms only previously glimpsed in dreams. Apart from roadying for Killing Joke, Alex had formed a band called Bloodsport in 1980 with old [much-missed] pal Wally, and then was first vocalist in band called Heist in 1985. In 1987 Both living at the Coach House in Wandsworth, Alex and Joke bassist Youth were in the thick of the acid house revolution, starting their own W.A.U. [What About Us, Wheels Ashore Untangled, Wake And Untroubled] label to release the new sonic experiments orbiting their South London spaced station. Some of these spangled outings can be found on The Orb & Youth's Present Impossible Oddities: From The Underground To The Overground: The Story Of W.A.U. Mr Modo! [Year Zero]. The Orb was born on a warm, Sunday summer's afternoon in after original members Alex [then calling himself LX Dee] and Jimmy Cauty [Rockman] had driven back from a Shoom party in Brighton to Transcentral on Jeffrey's Road, SW4 (where Alex's brother Martin also came into the world.) Using an OBX and decks, the pair cooked up the idea for 'Lovin You' [aka 'A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld']. However, the first track to bear The Orb name was 'Walking On Sunshine', first track on the Eternity Project set released on W.A.U./Gee Street in 1989. Meanwhile, the orb played their first gig in Bath players in August, 1988. Driving down in jimmy's old American police car, causing quite a few heads to turn in town! After all the American police car was no 1 with the timelords! LX had always loved playing records and seeing people's reactions, even if it was to an audience of one. Alex commenced spinning at the earliest acid house clubs at spectrum, slam & transcentral, playing anything from Eno to dub, with no regard to musical boxes, on a mission to push the outer limits further out. Not just rearranging the sonic goal posts but painting them rainbow colours and dropkicking them into uncharted realms. Feb 1989 saw the first Orb EP - Kiss Your Love/Suck My Kiss/The Roof Is On Fire/Ambiora Mix [homaging the NYC radio station], followed by the monstrous 'A Huge Ever Growing...', which was also renavigated in a parallel dimension for John Peel's Radio One show in December. 1989. Between September, 1989 and March, 1990 the orb [sometimes joined by Youth] played the White Room at Land Of Oz at heaven, Charing Cross, London's premiere acid house night, lowering ravers into a warm bath of aural balm and diverse exotica. These epic sets could be seen as the initial gestation of The Orb as beat-less music was created using an eight-track board hooked up to three turntables, CD and cassette players with projections on screens to match. In 1989, The Orb remixed Fischerman's Friend [aka Sun Electric], West India Company's 'O Je Suis Seul', the newly-formed KLF's '3AM Eternal', Marathon's 'Future Perfect' and even Dave Stewart and Candy Dulfer's top tenner 'Lily Was Here', recording the Space album in Bottom, Cornwall [Tracks: 'Mercury', 'Venus', 'Mars', 'Donner & Blitz', 'Pluto Calling', 'Sat On Jupiter', 'Nep-Tuned']. Alex also compiled 'What Time Is Love 1' on KLF. 'Little Fluffy Clouds' was written and recorded at the Coach House that year, finished in 1990, after The Orb signed to Big Life and Jimmy left to do the KLF. 'A Huge...' was reissued with new mixes through Big Life, followed by 'Little Fluffy Clouds'. That year's Orb remixes included Delkom, Depeche Mode, Erasure, Jam On The Mutha, Marathon and Sun Electric. At the same time, Alex was holding down an A&R man position at EG Records, home of ambient music and otherworldly whoopee. By now, Alex was hatching the first Orb album, Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld, transplanting the wild invention of dub and Kiss FM mastermixes into the new vistas opened up by acid house, fuelled by his fevered imagination, interest in aliens and immersion in pioneering electronic music by the likes of Eno and White Noise. With Youth off on various projects, Kris 'Thrash' Weston stepped up to twiddle knobs and translate Alex's creative ejaculations. 'Little Fluffy Clouds' was a pumping new dub mutant, laced with harmonica & radio 4 plus Rickie Lee Jones expounding from a promo CD interview and glistening melodic stratas. Thomas Fehlmann is the longest-serving Orb satellite member, a legendary titan in the history of Berlin's electronic music scene. Born in Switzerland, he had relocated to Hamburg by the time he formed seminal outfit Palais Schaumburg with Holger Hiller in 1979, moving to Berlin in 1984. After splitting with Hiller, he concentrated on his home studio and sampler, releasing records as Ready Made and starting his Teutonic Beats label in 1988. Thomas also became a respected DJ … becoming a resident at Berlin's renowned Tresor club in the 90s. He also became a pivotal part of the Berlin-Detroit connection, forming the 3MB with Juan Atkins and Moritz Von Oswald. Alex met Thomas in May, 1989 in his capacity as his A&R man at EG, when the latter was in London toting his latest set, 'Vorsprung Durch Musik'. Thomas was over with Sun Electric, Marathon and half of DAF, cementing the relationship by taking them to the spangled wonderment of Shoom. After the Orb remixed Sun Electric's 'O'locco', Thomas co-wrote 'Outlands', starting the telepathic studio relationship which continues to the present. LX was spinning at Berlin's Space club November 1989 the weekend the wall came down . & watched the collapse of the wall with Thomas & sun electric .. a moment in time! 'Back Side Of The Moon' and NASA-laced 'Supernova At The End Of The Universe' saw Alex collaborating with Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy, who'd recently started System 7, while the stratospheric skank of 'Perpetual Dawn' was written by veteran London sound system operator Eddie Maiden (R.IP). Alex has always been very loyal to his mates, many old Grove-Battersea lunatics still about in various capacities. Despite now playing bass for Pink Floyd, Guy Pratt played on the langorous 'Spanish Castles In Space'. The album sparked a new term called ambient house but was already striking way beyond such categories, into the Orb's own ultraworld. The original double album took the form of an epic space odyssey, starting with side one's three Earth Orbit tracks ['Little Fluffy Clouds', 'Earth [Gaia]', 'Supernova At The End Of the Universe'], followed by side two's Lunar Orbit ['Back Side of The Moon', ''Spanish Castles In Space'], side three's Ultraworld Probe ['Perpetual Dawn', 'Into The Fourth Dimension', 'Outlands'] and four's Ultraworld pair ['Star 6 & 7 8 9', 'A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld']. Star 6 & 7 was written with long time friend Hugh Vickers aka huge knickers & tom green. While the April, 1991 launch for Ultraworld was held at a North London floatation centre, The Orb was turning into a formidable live experience, blitzing through album tracks and soon-to-be classics like 'Towers Of Dub', taking venues into a senses-blasting new orbit. This was still the spirit of punk rock, meaning rules were broken, there was attitude under the ambience and healthy regard for upsetting the nearest applecart, giving it the large salad atop a spangled middle finger. October saw Primal Scream's Screamadelica, on which The Orb produced the transcendental lift off of 'Higher Than The Sun'. The album gripped a nation keening down from the initial ecstasy flash. Alex DJed with Andrew Weatherall on the insane Screamadelica tour and, apart from having a blast, pumped some of this heavenly gas into the back passage of his own mental soundscapes. The only way was up. "I'm the first person to be amazed by the success of what's going on," said Alex. "It's not preconceived and we're not copying anyone else." The album would go on to make Melody Maker's top 30 1991 albums list, Spin's 90 Greatest Albums of The 90s list, number seven in Muzik magazine's Top 50 Dance Albums Of All Time and ranked at 45 in the NME writers' list of Greatest Albums of All Time.