On what was clearly one of the coldest nights in New York City this winter, those of us at the legendary B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, Lucille Cafe got to warm up to the sounds of R&B artists Anthony David and Dwele. B.B. King Blues Club & Grill is located right in the heart of Times Square and has been the venue of choice for many great entertainers, likewise, they are the home to Lucille Cafe, which has a full menu of delicious soul food and BBQ. On this particular evening, the room was filled with dining tables and chairs on the lower and upper level. This was my first time attending a show with this kind of set up, but I must say that it was really enjoyable. It was very intimate and everyone in attendance didn’t need to break their neck or worry about someone tall being in front of them to see the stage. That evening, I decided to dine on their vegetable salad with BBQ salmon and a glass of Pinot Grigiot. It was the perfect sized plate and was full of flavor. I’m going to have to go back for their Sunday Brunch sometime.
To start off our evening musically, we were presented with a lovely young lady by the name of Colette. She started off her set with her own rendition of Angie Stone’s “Brotha”. Being that it was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as well as the inauguration day for President Barack Obama, she paid tribute to both of those men in her version. She kicked things off the right way and had us all in a glorious mood from there on out. I would describe her as a soulful R&B singer with a southern twist. This South Carolina native is so poised and professional, an absolute pleasure to watch perform.
Next to take the stage, was Georgia native Anthony David. I honestly wasn’t very familiar with his music, but after his set was over my faith in good R&B was restored. I will definitely be purchasing (yes, that means paying for music) his catalog. You can still feel all of his Savannah, GA roots in his music. It’s just all around soulful, feel good music. Performing tracks from his latest release Love Out Loud, the crowd was yelling out song requests during his entire show. The two ladies at my table kept screaming out “Sweet Pain”, which he did not do. She went so far as to pull it up on her phone and hand it to me so I could here it after I said I hadn’t heard it before. A standout moment for me was the song he sang about a family reunion. It was very heart warming. I cannot wait to get more familiar with his music. I am a new fan from here on out.
Last but not least to take the stage was the ever so talented gentleman from the home of Motown, Dwele. From the moment he hit the stage, the temperature in B.B. King got increasingly hotter. So hot that the air conditioning went on and may I remind you it was 20 degrees outside? Some may think that R&B singers are boring to watch live but that definitely was not the case here. Dwele manages to be funny, engaging, personable and extremely charismatic. Between his smooth voice, which was backed by singer J. Tait (another Detroit native soul singer), his full band that was top notch and the great acoustics at B.B. King, it would be very hard not to enjoy yourself. You might think that he caters only to the women in the audience, but he connects with the fellas just the same. Dwele said it perfectly by saying that he makes songs for the men that don’t know how to put their feelings into words. They can just press play and say “Baby, this is how I feel”. He managed to perform a range of his songs from his current album, Greater Than One as well as previous songs. Some of my favorites from the night were “I’m Cheatin'”, “Open Your Eyes”, “Coming, Going, Leaving”, “I Understand”, “Obey” and “Swank”.
During his show, he did perform pieces of Slum Village’s “Tainted” and “Fall In Love”, which made him earn an even bigger piece of my heart by paying homage to the late and amazing producer/MC/ and 1/3 of Slum Village…J Dilla, who also hails from Detroit, Michigan. I’m sure that part of his set has to be an emotional one for him to do, do to the fact that anyone who has come into contact with Dilla’s music, misses it and him dearly. Another joint I have to point out because it’s my absolute favorite song that just makes me want to get up and dance, is “Must Be”. During his introduction to this song, he spoke about repping where you’re from and I felt the need to welcome him to NYC by shouting out “Whutupdoe?!” so he’d feel at home. The original version features singer, L’Renee and MC, Black Milk. They weren’t present, but the performance was still outstanding. Closing out his show with “What Profit” and “Find A Way” while making his way through the audience and dancing with his fans, he left us all either wanting to go home and make a baby with that special someone or go out and have some of that “PATrick RONald”. Either way, you left a happy fan. I was fortunate to say hello to Dwele after the show and thank him for such a great performance and he was nothing but kind and very humble. Artists like him make my job fun and effortless.
One of the most refreshing aspects of the evening was that there were no long intermissions between acts…and they all performed with a full band that needed to set up and take down. The sound system at B.B. King is one of the best I’ve witnessed in NYC. Other intimate venues in the city need to get on their level of professionalism. A very special thank you to Tim Maynor, Lauren Sachs, Big Machine Agency, B.B. King Blues Club, Colette and her band, Anthony David and his band, J. Tait, Dwele and his band for a very memorable and well executed night.