Mostly I listen to RnB, but I’m certainly not opposed to other genres of music. In fact, I pretty much listen to a little of everything. Sometimes I stumble upon songs while shopping in the store or while watching movies and tv shows. But in the 90’s I wanted to evolve and be a bit more versed in culture. So, I intentionally immersed myself and started listening to a variety of music, attending events that required me to “get dressed”, took in museums and things of the like. It was during this time that I was introduced to the Blues Traveler, Meatloaf, John Mellencamp, Meshell Ndegeocello, Melissa Etheridge and a host of other artists from other genres.
I remember purchasing these cds and having my own little rock party in my Mazda 626, trying to blow my speakers because the music was so full and boisterous. It was something that I could be and was easily drawn to. It was nothing to listen to an entire cd and hit repeat on more than one song. So, when these artists resurface staying true to themselves and their audience as opposed to re-inventing, trying to keep up with the times, I latch on to them and their new projects.
That brings me to The Blues Traveler and the “Accelerated Nation Tour”. When I saw that they were coming to Raleigh, it was one of those moments I knew I wanted to capture. It was about nostalgia for me. Music from these guys were at a particular point in my life and I don’t mind sitting back and reminiscing about those times.
The opening act was this young and hip Soul – Rock - Funk group from San Francisco called Con Brio. The lead singer, Ziek McCarter is high impact and full of energy. All night he danced, jumped, high-kicked and did more than his fair share of splits. I don’t know how he did it all and for as long as he did. Talk about stamina. He came to entertain and he did.
As the set went on, that energy became contagious with one of bandmates, trumpeter Brendan Liu. For some reason as I watched, all I could see was a set at the ROXY; a kind of throwback to the 80’s. No, I’ve never been to the ROXY. What I’m really talking about a scene or two that I’ve seen in the movie … Beat Street. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll get the reference. But anyway, the set went on for longer than intended and they didn’t care. Hell, they had the energy to go on all night, if needed. This extended set allowed for a showcase of a few of the members: saxophonist Marcus Stephens, trumpeter Brendan Liu and guitarist Benjamin Andrews. These solos made me step from the shadows and take notice of these individual performances. I’m a sucker for a great guitar solo … especially when they just let it rip and give in to the full moment. I’m falling more and more in love with horn solos. You should give them a listen. I’m willing to bet you’ll hear something you like and catch yourself grooving.
And to the stage next, the crowd welcomes Blues Traveler. This is definitely one of times when a live set really brings everything home for you. For those of you who know about BT, you know that band lead, Jon Popper plays a mean harmonica. I mean like that’s his steelo. He has a box, which is perched next to him on stage, containing the varied harmonicas he plays. It takes the place of his previously worn belts, which were customized by him; allowing him to switch tones as needed, with ease. Then there is his custom-made microphone, which also aids him with how the harmonic sounds are projected. Having never seen BT in person, I found myself being pulled in, fascinated by his mastery of the harmonica; trying to catch a small glimpse of what that looks like as he switches them out, continually giving us great sounds on top of vocals.
In these few shots, I think I was able to capture it.