Just Listen: Jonny Lang

It’s amazing how many great musicians there are in the world  who’ve never been heard by so many people. I’ve been listening to Jonny Lang for a good two weeks now, and I’m still trying to figure out how this guy put out 5 albums without me ever knowing of his existence. I’m seriously still upset about this. This man has a voice that somehow conveys every emotion. All at once. And still, the feeling that he wants you the feel when you listen to a song, oh he makes you feel it alright.

Exhibit A:

Listen. I can be stubborn, cold, hardhearted and plenty of adjectives. When I’m fed up with someone, they know it; especially a man that I’m dating. I can say with complete confidence that if any man that I’m seriously dating plays this song after a major screw up/blowout fight….. I. AM. STAYING. RIGHT. THERE. Shucks, I wanted to pull lil Jonny into my arms and whisper my forgiveness and he didn’t do me any harm. And that guitar?!! It was crying. CRYING!!! My Gosh!! An instrument begging for forgiveness? I dare you to turn that down.

Exhibit B:

Imagine: Sitting in Greater Mt. House On The Hill Missionary Baptist AME Church on the hottest of summer Sundays. It’s homecoming and you have the serious itis from the dinner in the fellowship hall after the morning service. The visiting church’s choir is getting ready for their first selection. This is the perfect opportunity to catch a little snooze on the last pew, because they’re bound to sound terrible. Just as your eyes get the good droop to ’em, you hear This:

I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the picture. This guy is officially at the top of my “I must experience your voice in real life” list. Yes, I just made that up.

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The Higher Learning Tour: Nunu’s First HipHop Concert

Since I’m documenting my live show experiences, I figured why not share what happened when we took my nephew to his first hiphop concert. I wrote this a few days after the show, but of course it hung out in my drafts until now. My pictures from this show kind of suck. We were far away.  Enjoy!

A couple of  months ago, Lecrae and Dee-1 came through Nashville on The Higher Learning Tour. If you haven’t heard of them, but enjoy rap and love God, I suggest that you give them a listen. I, being the hiphop head that I am, knew that there was no way that I’d be missing this show. My sister and I also decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to introduce my nephew to the world of the hiphop concert. Reginald, affectionately called Nunu, is forever singing in the car and we’ve had to be mindful of what we play when he’s around. It’s great to have rap artists who can be played at obscenely high volume in the car without worrying about what my eight year old nephew is hearing. Needless to say, he loves Lecrae and I’m pretty cool for playing his music.

The day of the show, Nunu runs into my room after school and jumps on my bed. “Are you going to the concert?!” I, in a nap induced haze, have no idea why he’s asking me such an obvious question. I forgot that my sister never tells him when she’s planned something just in case he acts up and plans have to change. Mothers are slick like that. He was on pins and needles until it was time to get in the car. We get to TSU’s Gentry Center and there are no signs of life, let alone a concert. Apparently, the venue that was advertised was not where the concert was being held. Mind you, the advertising was close to non-existent. Nashville has to do better. But that’s another issue for another post. Back to this story, we found the building and were ready for a few hours of fun.

Nunu chooses a spot on top of the closed bleachers where he could take in the entire room. The opener was Propaganda, a former teacher from LA. We, and most of the people in attendance, had never heard of this guy but he was super hype. I love to see an artist on their first tour because their performance is so organic. They love what their doing so much that they will rock on that stage alone and enjoy every second. That love is what makes the crowd eventually rock with them. It’s contagious. I loved the way that Propaganda mixed spoken word into his set. It wasn’t gimmicky. Nunu, on the other hand didn’t seem to be impressed. Uh oh.

Next up was the comedian/host. (I forgot his name) Now, this guy was a hit with the kid. Brandi and I weren’t as impressed, but Nunu was cracking up at every joke. Every time I looked up he was doing the knee slapping belly laugh. While the comedian was on, I noticed the next act, Dee-1 on the side of the stage. It’s normal for artists to be off to the side before their set, but I thought that it was kind of cool that he had his notebook out and looked to be drawing. Now, I’ve quit paying attention to the stage and am watching Dee-1’s process. The pacing was never-ending, probably due to the fact that the comedian obviously ran over his time and then kept going. Oh, and how much can one person have in their pockets? I’m almost positive that Dee-1 had them beat. And after spending what seemed like forever handing his pocket contents to his homeboy, he still had to stop at the dj booth to unload one last item. Do all artists go on stage with empty pockets? I’ve met and seen him perform before, so I kind of knew what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much his stage presence has improved in a year. He was comfortable on stage.

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Check back in with Nunu, he’s bobbing his head, but Brandi and I are obviously enjoying the show more. By this time I’m a little worried. This kid, who dances all the time and makes up a rap version to every song, is sitting still. He’s not jumping. He’s not even standing up. Was this a mistake? Were the lights and sound too much? Does he really not like hiphop as much as we thought? But there was no turning back because Lecrae was up next.

Lecrae hits the stage and I see a whole new side of Nunu. He’s jumping and rapping along and having a ball. He’s even come down from his perch to enjoy the show beside Brandi and I. His hands are up, he’s smiling. Lecrae is performing all of his favorites. It looked like all was perfect in his little world. I’m so happy that I could be a part of that moment.

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Thanks to positive artists like Lecrae and Dee-1, I can share my love for hiphop and live music with my nephew at such a young age. They are dope lyrically without cursing and negativity. They are men of God and great role models for young men. The type of “cool kids” that I want the little men in my life to look up to. We had such a great time.

I found out later that Nunu loved all of the artists who performed that night. His reason for not acting like it: he was saving his energy for Lecrae. The logic of an eight year old. I love him.

 

 

The Bonnaroo Experience Part 2: Night One

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Let’s see… Where did I leave off? Oh yea! Sonic was calling us. You would think that turning around in a parking lot would be simple. No. We pull into this lot because we noticed that there were plenty of exits that would get us back to the wonderfulness of a slushie. The lot is huge. The building, bigger. And we soon discovered that all of the 9,000 exits were blocked. This parking lot was clearly against us getting to Sonic. As we drove around aaaaand around I started to wonder what was housed inside of this massive building. In a fit of frustration I say, “watch this be Creflo Dollar’s church or something.” We start searching for a sign of any sort, and all we see on the outside of every door is a globe. When we finally get back out of the lot, we see the sign and it says “blah blah blah Creflo Dollar”. Ha! And you know what does not exist at this church? A cross. Not one cross. On the outside of the building. On the sign. Nowhere. Solidified my belief of his crookdom. He’s a crook. Don’t debate me.

After we finally partake in all of Sonic’s greatness, we hit the road and make it to the farm in record time. We get settled and assemble our massive tent in record time also. Sidenote, there were a grand total of two of us in our tent. It was big enough to sleep a small army. We took up so much space. And we were done before everyone around us. Yes, I’m bragging. We were finally ready for the fun to begin.

We make the journey to the actual festival. Journey is an understatement, but the walk was well worth every step. When I say that place was huge, I mean gigantic. Five stages, all types of tents and barns and food, two ferris wheels, and a huge fountain in the middle. I can’t accurately describe it all. We spent most of the afternoon exploring because our must see performance wasn’t until 10pm. I did discover Danny Brown that day; the first performance that I witnessed of the weekend. We pretty much chilled and people watched until it was time for Kendrick Lamar.

We discovered early that the best way to get a good spot for a performance is to head in when everyone is leaving the previous show. Yelawolf was slated for the spot before the love of my life (Kendrick Lamar). I would like to take this time to apologize to all of the Yelawolf fans that may have been injured in the process of Jada bulldozing through the crowd and pulling me along. She was on a serious mention and would not settle for less than an up close and personal relationship with the stage. I’m almost positive that she hit a few people in the face. Her mission was a smashing success.

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Doesn’t he look amazing?

The love of my life has that title for a reason. Kendrick Lamar is a BEAST. A freak of nature. I had the time of my life. I was high off of the energy of the crowd. There was crowd surfing and beach balls. All around amazingness. There’s really no other way to describe it.

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This happened. Right beside me.

We ended the night hanging out with two white girls who approached us with this: “do you mind if we ask you an offensive question?” The question was why don’t black people swim. I feared far worse than that though. We danced in the beer tent. We talked about everything. We sang old Hot Boys songs and did New Orleans bounce dances. Oh! and Jada attempted to light dance. She failed.

Amazing first night.

I Want A Job…

I want to put these on and zone out.

 

Is it possible to get paid to listen to music? That’s it. Sit at home and listen to music. Go to shows and listen to music. I’m not a writer, and I’m as politically incorrect and rude as they come, so I wouldn’t want to be responsible for writing reviews. I don’t want to be an A&R or any sort of head hunter because pitching artists to others is not my thing. If I like something /someone, I like them. I can’t be bothered with convincing others to like them too. I want to listen. Enjoy. Dissect for myself. Listen again with a better understanding.

Can I get paid to sit in my living room in sweats – size extra large – with my macbook hooked up to surround sound speakers; iTunes on an overflowing ‘Recently Added’ playlist, and vibe all day? Can I pick out what I love and put them on repeat? All day. I mean, I can tweet lyrics so it won’t seem like I’m getting paid for nothing. Can I receive a salary to dress up and go to all the new venues that I’ve discovered to witness all of the talent coming from my city? Can my employment package include me being front row center for my favorite artists when they stop through on tour?

 

Can I get paid to go somewhere like this?

Who would hire me for such a position? Seriously. I need answers. Suggestions. Someone point me in the right direction. I’ll put on my best suit and give and amazing interview. I’ll show how diverse of a musical palette I possess. I’d create charts and diagrams relating artists and songs that only I would think to connect; put together my ideal concert line-ups and set lists. I’d so so so get that job.

To sit and listen to music all day, how glorious!!