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Dru Hill feat. Sisqo, Nokio, Jazz & Tao
Wednesday 09/09
Dru Hill feat. Sisqo, Nokio, Jazz & Tao @ The Howard Theatre
$36.50 / $42
Years from now when it’s all said and done, music historians will surely debate the contributions of those who majorly impacted the genre of R&B. Icons guaranteed to be mentioned are industry stalwarts such as The Temptations, The Four Tops, The O’Jay’s, The Jackson Five, New Edition, Guy, Jodeci, and Boyz II Men. However, any list that does not include the incomparable Dru Hill is grossly inaccurate. The torch bearers responsible for carrying R&B music into the new millennium was the labor of love for four immensely talented young singers who were and remain the quintessential example of superior entertainers. From their first single that asked the ever important question, “Tell Me” (what you want), Dru Hill has been giving fans what they need in the form of numerous classic love ballads and infectious dance songs that have provided countless beautiful memories for millions upon millions of music lovers the world over. Named after a popular Baltimore park, Dru Hill is comprised of Tamir Ruffin a/k/a Nokio, Mark Andrews a/k/a Sisqo, Larry Anthony a/k/a Jazz, and Antwuan Simpson a/k/a Tao, the newest addition the group replacing original member James “Big Woody” Green who left the group to pursue a solo gospel career. In a career that spans nearly two decades, Dru Hill, under the steadfast leadership of their long time and trusted manager Kevin Peck has accomplished literally everything an R&B/Pop group could dream of achieving. From having a string of Top 40 #1 hit singles, multi-platinum selling albums, movie and television appearances, headlining sold out concert tours around the world, to selling an eye-popping 30 million records worldwide, their star power has never been in question. Proof of their immense global following was most evident when their reality show entitled Keith Sweat’s Platinum House became the highest rated series in the Centric network’s history, proving their critics wrong that even after a significant absence from the public eye, fans still can’t get enough of Dru Hill. With a music library fit for royalty, that boasts some of the biggest selling and most popular R&B songs of all time to include “Tell Me”, “5 Steps”, “In My Bed”, “Never Make a Promise”, “How Deep Is Your Love”, “These are the Times”, and “We’re Not Making Love No More”, that are considered by many music experts to be standards that help define the 90’s. Additionally, the group’s music has helped tremendously to bolster the sale of movies and soundtracks with their songs often having been the lead single for block buster films like “Eddie” starring Academy Award winning actress Whoopi Goldberg (Tell Me), “How to be a Player” starring comedian Bill Bellamy (She’s a Bad Mama Jama), “Rush Hour” starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker (How Deep is Your Love), Wild Wild West starring mega superstar Will Smith (Wild Wild West), and “Soul Food starring former Miss America Vanessa Williams (We’re Not Making Love No More). As their lead single “Back to the Future” off their fourth studio album “Indrupendence Day” heats up the clubs, radio, and the internet, the group’s vocal capabilities is greatly enhanced by the arrival of Tao. The Annapolis, Maryland native whose incredible singing range has him poised to do for Dru Hill what Johnny Gill did for New Edition, and that’s help take the group to new levels of greatness. All while Nokio continues to prove his genius as a songwriter, producer, and singer. Jazz supplies vocal versatility through his amazing voice and his unique ability to play an array of musical instruments. Rounding out the soon to be hall of fame foursome is none other than the Blonde/Silver haired rebel Sisqo, whose dancing and singing brilliance is timeless. Busier than ever performing at sold out venues around the globe for a whole new generation of adoring fans, is the life of Nokio, Tao, Jazz, and Sisqo who prove superior singing + undeniable talent + first rate showmanship = Dru Hill.
Yacht Rock Revue
Friday 07/10
Yacht Rock Revue @ The Hamilton Live
$20 / $25
You’re Welcome! The Yacht Rock Revue is the Greatest Show on Surf and the finest tribute to ‘70s light rock to ever perform anywhere. Ever. Their spot‐on renditions of Hall & Oates, Michael McDonald, Steely Dan, and the rest of the Time‐Life Infomercial Catalog have enthralled fans across the United States. It goes without saying they have taken their act to the high seas, performing showcase sets on music cruises with Weezer, Kid Rock, Train, Zac Brown Band, Sister Hazel, and fitness guru Jillian Michaels. By blurring the lines between a tribute, an original act, and a comedic troupe, the Yacht Rock Revue has forged a unique niche market and a special bond with their fans. The band attacks each song as if it were their own, and the energy exchanged between the band and the crowd has more in common with a stadium U2 show than that of a typical bar band. The band has won accolades ranging from “Best Place to Get Drunk With Your Dad” to “Best Overall Music Act in Atlanta” to “Best Place to Start an Extramarital Affair,” and has been name‐dropped by the New York Times, Pitchfork, the Guardian UK, Spin, TimeOut New York, Billboard, MTV.com, and (probably) your mom at her last cocktail party. Speaking of name‐dropping, members of the band have played on‐stage with members of Weezer, Billy Joel, Walter Egan, .38 Special, John Mayer, Zac Brown Band, Little River Band, Sheryl Crow, Noel Gallagher, Starbuck, Sarah McLachlan, Don Henley, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Neil Finn, Jellyfish, Devo, Nine Inch Nails, Joan Jett, Wet Willie, Bon Jovi, Skid Row, and the Saturday Night Live Band. (None of those were a joke.) The Yacht Rock Revue has packed out shows at historic venues including the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, the Knitting Factory in New York City, Athens’ famed Georgia Theatre, Washington DC’s State Theatre, and Nashville’s Mercy Lounge. They played at the finish line of the Peachtree Road Race for 50,000+ two years running; played on Turner Field for 30,000 fans on July 4; and sang the National Anthem at Braves Manager Bobby Cox’s last game. The Greatest Yacht Rock Revival in the Universe on August 13, 2011 was the Yacht Rock Revue’s smoothest success to date. Almost 2,000 fans flocked to Buckhead to see the Yacht Rock Revue headline a show that featured legit ‘70s icons Little River Band, Ambrosia, Peter Beckett from Player, Walter Egan, and Starbuck. 2012 promises the return of the Greatest Yacht Rock Revival in the Universe, a new album of original material, an album of live material recorded at the historic Georgia Theatre in Athens, and more sailings on the high seas and across the United States.
Beres Hammond
Wednesday 07/29
Beres Hammond @ The Howard Theatre
$39.50 / $45
He is considered Jamaica’s greatest practicing singer/songwriter and anyone who has listened to his CDs or experienced the fervor elicited by his live performances would undoubtedly agree with that top-ranking assessment. His recent appearance at Jamaica’s premier music festival, Reggae Sumfest, was unanimously hailed as the finest of the three-night event as he tore through hit after hit, some dating back to the mid 70s, consistently captivating an audience of nearly 20,000 who sang along so loudly to his beloved songs, they sometimes threatened to drown him out. That Sumfest 2008 performance was but another special moment in time within this adored artist’s enduring and truly exceptional career. For the past thirty-five years, despite inevitable career trials and tribulations, the music of Hugh Beresford Hammond has yet to be wrong. The ninth of ten children born in Jamaica’s garden parish St. Mary, on August 28, 1955, Beres, as a precocious child, made regular trips to Kingston to mingle with the singers who frequented the downtown record shops. After graduating from high school, Beres entered several local talent shows including the Merritone Amateur Talent Contest, where several reggae stars including vocal trio The Mighty Diamonds, Sugar Minott and the late Jacob 'Killer' Miller also got their starts. He joined the fusion band Zap Pow as lead singer in 1975 and remained with them for four years recording the albums Zap Pow (Mango, 1978), and Reggae Rules (Rhino Records, 1980) while simultaneously pursuing solo projects. But Beres quickly realized he “ couldn't serve two masters” and decided to concentrate on his individual efforts. Beres’ 1976 solo album Soul Reggae (Aquarius Records) produced by his friend Willie Lindo sold more than 2,000 copies in Jamaica during the first week of its release. His subsequent single “One Step Ahead”, still a favorite among Beres’ fans because of his signature impassioned vocals, held the number one spot on the Jamaican charts for three and a half months. Despite the popularity of his music, Beres failed to reap any financial rewards. Frustrated, he dropped out of the music business, then regrouped and formed his own record label/production company, Harmony House, in the early 80s. Beres’ Harmony House debut single “Groovy Little Thing” marked the first time he reaped financial rewards from his music; a succession of hit singles recorded for various Jamaican producers followed including 1987’s “What One Dance Can Do” which entered the national charts in England and elicited a spate of answer records including Beres’ own “She Loves Me Now”. Further acclaim arrived in 1990 when Beres joined forces with his good friend Donovan Germain whose Penthouse Records dominated the Jamaican charts in the early 90s with hits by Buju Banton, Wayne Wonder and others. Donovan asked Beres to record vocals over a rhythm track he had; Beres barely remembered recording “Tempted to Touch” but the song shot to the top of reggae charts around the world, as did the ensuing hits “Is This A Sign”, “Respect To You Baby” and “Feeling Lonely”, all featured on his Penthouse album “A Love Affair”. Beres maintained his presence on the reggae charts as the 90s progressed so it was inevitable he would attract major label interest. He signed to Elektra Records for whom he released the outstanding CD “In Control” in 1994. The CD’s spectacular R&B flavored single “No Disturb Sign”, still one Beres’ most popular songs, did not yield the desired international breakthrough although Beres would have easily captured the same fan base as Teddy Pendergrass or any other sophisticated soulful crooner, had “In Control” been given proper support by Elektra’s publicity/marketing machinery. “I never liked how I was treated; it was my first album on a major label, I think they should have paid more attention to it,” Beres declares. “There was a changing of the guard at the label which made things worse. But still, there are many artists who have been on the Billboard charts and don’t have the kind of fan base I have now so I am alright!” Undeterred, Beres continued to release music on his Harmony House label with distribution through VP Records. He has maintained his hit-making streak well into the 21st century while his incomparable, riveting live performances recruit legions of new fans from 9 to 90 years old. Beres’ heartfelt delivery reinforces his unique perspective on romance, detailing everything from the sly antics of the philandering male on “Double Trouble” to championing the overlooked female on “Show It Off” to celebrating an inevitable relationship in “They Gonna Talk”, from his 2001 Grammy nominated album “Music Is Life”. But Beres’ catalogue is also rife with uplifting anthems for the downtrodden including the 1978 hit “Last War” (heavily sampled in Collie Buddz’ 2007 breakthrough hit “Come Around”), the timeless “Putting Up Resistance”, the most popular reggae song of 1990/91 and the viscerally empowering “Not Over Until Its Done” from his 2004 release “Love Has No Boundaries”. In this inspirational vein “A Moment in Time” offers “Picking Up The Pieces”, its shimmering, R&B inflected rhythm underscoring a clarion call for peace, as Beres sings: “Pull ourselves together, try to sort it out, gather all peace makers, scattered all about/find a new direction this one ain’t working out/ talking to all of those with the clout.” The song was inspired by various global maladies from Jamaica’s escalating crime rate to the never-ending war in Iraq, as well as the role Beres ideally sees music playing in redirecting our individual actions towards making the world a better place. “When I see so much bad news I say Beres why do you keep singing so much love songs, are they listening or what?” he wondered aloud. “That’s what that song is about; every time I try, something else happens. Nevertheless I am still going to try because when I see the smiles on peoples faces as I perform, that gives me strength to keep going” Those smiles reflect the many special moments in time that Beres Hammond has brought to his fans, moments that have changed their lives, and perhaps their perception of contemporary Jamaican music, forever. Beres isn’t sure how he has maintained his lyrical freshness, vocal excellence and sonic inspiration over the past thirty-five years, but he is not questioning it, either. “I just see myself as one of the instruments who come to do what they do. I don’t know what it is but it’s working and if its not broken, you don’t mend it.”