Finally, after spending over a month in London I found some Soul. By soul I don’t mean people of color, I mean being in an environment where my spirit was moved and I was surrounded by beautiful people and music. This night made me nostalgic of the Black Lilly at the 5 Spot in Philadelphia where local and national artists hit the stage on a weekly basis. By all accounts, it was a Neo Soul movement. There was never any pretense, just good old music for your soul and you never wanted the night to end.
Tonight I took my first visit to the Jazz Café in Camden. It was very convenient to get to from my place and I was rather happy with the time it took to get there. I was unhappy about the line I had to wait in because the ticketing process was highly inefficient; one person in the ticket office which meant only 1 person or 1 group of people could enter at a time. After getting my ticket I finally went in to wait for the concert to start. I heard about the concert on my new favorite radio station Colourful. My landlady keeps the radio on Colourful and one day I heard a song that just absolutely made me bounce for joy – Sunshine by Avery Sunshine.
Every so often a song touches my spirit and Sunshine was added to that list. When I heard she was coming to London, I knew I had to go.
The show finally started around 8:15 and Avery hit the stage with her smash hit Sunshine. Usually artists save the most popular song for last, but she flipped it up a bit. She wooed the crowd with her covers of D’Angelo, Maze, Jill Scott, and Anita Baker to name a few. She also sang some of her own tunes, but the highlight for me was the two gospel songs she sang in the middle of her set. I believe one was planned and the other just seemed to come as the spirit moved through the crowd. A few people looked at me surprised that I knew the words (I guess these songs haven’t hit the UK yet). All I can say is she was absolutely amazing and had an amazing spirit about her. The only negative aspect of her performance was the fact that she stayed behind her piano the entire time. I have watched some of her videos on YouTube and have seen her in front of her piano, but not sure why she choose to sit today. Considering my height, I could barely see although the venue was small and technically there was no bad seat in the house.
Following her performance Anthony David took the stage. Apparently Barack Obama listens to him (he played a clip of Obama saying he listens to Anthony David and was introduced to him because of Michele). I didn’t know who he was before, but I have quickly converted into a fan. Not bad on the eyes and he is also a great singer and musician. I will admit I am biased towards artists who write their own music, sing well live, and play an instrument. He started the show by singing an Estelle song which was great because he put a little twist on American Boy. He weaved his own songs in and out of some covers, one of which was I LIKE by Guy and I believe I was the only one in the audience singing along. A girl asked how I knew the song and I explained I was from the states and who the artist was. While the audience didn’t quite groove to Guy, they grooved to his Tribe Called Quest and India Arie cover as well as his song Cold Turkey which by far was my favorite song. He wasn’t the most energetic performer. In fact I don’t believe he broke a sweat at all. He was completely chill and almost mesmerizing. I would definitely pay to see him again.
As far as the Jazz café, I will definitely go again. In fact, Kindred is playing there in a few weeks. They have a few bars, it’s small enough to create a great intimate space for music. It reminds me of the Trocodero and the World Café in Philadelphia (although I believe this space is even smaller than the both of them). The concert was over by 10:45 and I managed to grab the tube to the train station (thank God the strike was over) and run on the train home as the door was closing. I made it home well before 12 and overall it was a chill night and I didn’t get lost.
Thank you Anthony David and Avery Sunshine for a beautiful evening!