All photos copyrighted by www.lovenoisenashville.com.
On Sunday nite, I had the opportunity to catch Goapele @ a local venue, Lovenoise (And for free. Chea! Nothin like being on "the list"). The spot was nearly too small for the number of people. Straight up, it was as if "the grown and sexy" came out of the woodworks to this show because turnout was impressive and prolly even overwhelmed the promoters. It was "standing in the bathroom while somebody else showers" type muggy in there and I ain't sure what some of the divas and pretty boys in the crowd expected. It was a show, you deal with bumps and "excuse me's" knowing that close proximity only adds to the whole experience.
Since I have a shabby memory, let me mention songs I know she sang...
One of the opening tracks that seemed to be recognized and caught everyone's ear was "Catch 22", and you could see people puttin their dueces in the air. While she performed tracks from both Even Closer and Change It All, the two major songs that everyone in the crowd seemed to know were "Crushed Out" and "Closer"...on the former, you could tell who bought and/or was familiar w/the album because we were vibin to the track, noddin, singin the chorus (dudes too lol), while the rest of the crowd sort've lingered around. Somewhere around this time in the show, she broke into jazzed up versions of "Romantic," "Good Love" and "First Love", and with the help of the band, the crowd swayed and the divide was set - some of us knew the drill; the others came looking to socializing and found the rest of us locked in an intense one night stand with Goapele.
About half way thru the show, I made it across the crowd to where my guy (Whattup B.!) was taking snapshots, near the soundman. As we stretched across the soundman's controls and discussed my dude sending me pics for the writeup, the soundman got a little aggy and asked "can ya'll discuss that shit later? I'M WORKING" lol...we just gave dude the stoneface, finished our convo and continued listening.
In hindsight, I'm glad I made it to this section, where I was about 3-4 rows from centerstage, because Goap and crew did a nice bridge to get the crowd on its toes for the last portion of the show by playing old familiars "Everybody Loves The Sunshine" and their version of "I'd Rather Be With You" which pretty much got everyone swaying. As well, she did a funky version of some damn song while the band played Common's "Go" and all hands were in the air....She also crushed a verse of "Change Gone Come." which made me start envisioning the ending of Malcolm X and Billie Holiday combined for some reason.
For "Love Me Right," she proceeded to tell the crowd "I'm about to get my 80's on!" and the band spazzed out...after the first verse I had my fingers up in the "rock the fuck on" sign and was glad to be in attendance.
By the end of the show, when she came to "Closer", I'd made it ridiculously close to the stage by accident really. On this track , you see what seperates Goapele from the average R&B chick b/c she modestly injects a little social commentary, especially on "Closer" where she took the time to congratulate and extending will wishes to the recent college grads, those advocating change while contributing to the world in a positive way and everyone supporting good music...
Other frivilous tidibts to share that I walked away having learned from this experience...
1. Goapele is short lol...I mean, maybe 5'4" max. She's got a lil fatty behind her though and....
2. She ain't exactly an earthy, neo-soul chick like they try to portray her in ads and photos. Hailing from Oakland (whatup Reen!), shorty had on like three different gold links, and was swaying her hips that would had me thinkin of tellin her my pony's waiting © Ginuwine lol. I told my man "Damn, she's got some MC Lyte in her, right?" with the hip-hop influence in her dress and sashay across the stage that screamed confidence like the best of MC's.
3. Again, in comparison to her pics, which aren't shabby, she's amazingly more stunning in person. With most people you think "wow..._______ looks much better in magazines/videos/on tv"...Goapele has the most magnetic smile, complimented by her strong cheekbones and jaws, and the smile remained throughout the show even though it was muggy as fuck in the venue. Her eyes were another feature that while they do appear to be her strongest feature in print ads, they're much more engaging on stage and convey that sense that she's connecting with her whole audience.
4. She only allowed for one backup singer. Saying that she had a voice more than capable enough to command the stage alone is a strong understatement. Even without a mic, I'm willing to bet people all the way at the door coming in would've thought we were having church in the venue since it was a Sunday and all that singin was going on.
Overall, I rate it a strong A-, with the only negatives being that since she's not "known" and the portions of the crowd seemed to just "be there", it sort of effected the feeling of the whole thing. However, Goapele seemed to get past that and put on a powerful show for well over an hour, singing strongly and confidently throughout, convincing previous listeners and winning over a few new ones. And for those of us blessed to have listened to the album, hearing it performed live was...rare to say this, but she came across better live than on the retail, which wasn't a weak showing.
Props to the folks @ Lovenoise for bringing quality acts to the city. For more info on what else they have on deck, stay tuned because we'll be making mention of it as events come. Feel free to check out their site @ www.lovenoisenashville.com and be sure to sign up for their newsletter.
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