The Uptown Pride Block Party on June 26 was an LGBT Pride Week affair, but you didn’t need to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender to get with it. For that matter, you didn’t have to have a dime in your pocket. All you had to bring was the willingness to enjoy a damned good time.
The concert site at Bryant Avenue and Lake Street was packed almost elbow-to-elbow with what had to be a crowd of a thousand or more, chock full of feel-good vibes. I dropped in to catch a few numbers by Black Blondie, then hustle it on back home for deadlines. In so doing, I came upon a delightful surprise: one smokin’ emcee, Foxy Tann, about whom I’d heard a great deal. It turned out that even the highest praise fell short in preparing me for the experience of seeing her live. They don’t come more artfully charismatic—not to mention hot as a sunburn—than this dynamic lady of the stage.
This was my first Black Blondie show and surely won’t be my last. Drummer Kahlil Brewington, tastefully sporting a New York Mets cap, nailing the skins with a sweet vengeance, was locked in the pocket with bassist Liz Draper in a pair of oversized shades, finessing her bass (a sunburst Fender jazz) tight as hard times. Tasha Baron truly worked the keys, doing what for all the world sounded like a pianist and guitarist playing in tandem. Vocalist Samahra Daly is not one of those singers who go in the studio and lean on special effects for her sound. She brings it live with every bit of her sultry, full-bodied strength wholly intact. Theirs is a unique style of classic R&B/pop that doesn’t quit.
In sum: Black Blondie killed. I got a chance to hear them do few cuts off their splendid CD debut Do You Remember Who You Wanted To Be. They did “For The Taste,” “World Won’t Rest,” and “Bye Polar Bear.” As I grudgingly left, they were breaking into “Candy Cigarettes” and had the crowd stoked. Regrettably, I must chalk the rest of their set up to probably one of the best times I never had.
As an aside, a few folk from premiere R&B rockers The New Congress—Russ King, Aaron “Orange A.C.” Cosgrove, and Steph Devine—were hanging out backstage. I got a heads-up on TNC’s release date for the new album. They’re not sure yet whether it’ll be called Woman is God or Crucial. King confirmed, though, that it will drop in October. Get ready for some great music.
It took Black Blondie for practically ever to release Do You Remember Who You Wanted To Be. They put in crazy roadwork, building a cast-iron reputation through sheer word of mouth. Now that the album’s here and the band’s supporting it with a strong stage show, look for this crew to blow up big time.
Dwight Hobbes is a writer based in the Twin Cities. He contributes regularly to the Daily Planet.
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