Take Note!

Pictures and videos used on this site are all borrowed (well not all, some are actually mine) for everyone's viewing pleasure.  They are not being used in a malicious matter, it is all in good fun and most likely to promote the good stuff found.  Please don't threaten to sue, just ask me to take it down if it is a bother.  If not, thanks for the borrow!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hail To The Last Weekend Of The Summer...

"Summer, summer, summertime.  Time to sit back and unwind..."  Summertime - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Well aren't I a vibe killer, I should have used this quote a long time ago since it is the official end of summer this weekend.  Back to school for all of us "students", back to a regular work schedule, cottage time coming to an end soon.  So much for summer.  I know my American massive enjoyed theirs because of the actual SUMMER weather they had.  Across the border in good ol' Canada, it has been disgusting and quite depressing.  I can personally count how many times I actually broke into a sweat down here and I am not too impressed by Mother Nature and her antics.  Well, what can we do.  I still did what I had to do and enjoyed the summer to the best of my ability.  It was great to catch up with some really old friends (tried and true friends) and take in a few amazing concerts along the way.  So as you all know and can imagine, as nasty and uncooperative as the weather was-I was in my glee.

Of course seeing that this is going to be a long weekend, I will be heading to Montreal to catch up with friends, family and wedding plans (not mine!).  There will be no Monday Madness, so I thought I would throw some concert information your way and call it a day.

For those of us who are stannin' for Maxwell, my man (come on now, we have the same bday, it's meant to be) is FINALLY going on tour!  After six years of anguish and torture!!!  All I know is I already have my ticket for the sold out show at Radio City Music Hall.  And believe it or not, he has only one Canadian date-here in Toronto at Massey Hall. Check the link here, it will bring you straight to Ticketmaster.  Don't play ladies and gents, do what you have to do.

The rest of the dates are for my New Yorkers and anyone who will be in the city around the selected dates.  My concert schedule is already full and I have not even stepped back into the city as yet.  Get ready, because SOB's has one hell of a line up for you:

For my West Indian massive, ENJOY DE PARKWAY!!  Machel Montano is at SOB's as I type bringing some carnival fever...

I was not going to even mention it, but Kardinal Offishall or as we know him down here - "Kardi," will hit the stage on September 9th.  Since he signed with Akon, I really do not want anything to do with him.  And what a shame, I always liked Kardi.  If "Dangerous" is any indication of what's to come for his album, I really do not want to hear it.

On the 10th and 11th, you lucky peeps get Leela James - two nights in a row!!  I am quite perturbed that I am missing both shows, but I am sure that I will catch her again sometime.  I HOPE I do!

Sol Village hosted by Eric Roberson will actually be my first stop, that is on September 24th.

We have my girl Teedra Moses FINALLY coming back to NYC.  I was lucky enough to conduct an interview with her for my "6 Questions With."  She will be at SOB's on September 25th.

We also have the forever debonaire Raphael Saadiq coming through SOB's on September 30th.  You have to go just to hear him sing "Be Here" or "All I Ask Of You" or...well anything for that matter.  Beforehand, you can catch him at the South Street Seaport on August 29th

And that is all I have for you right now.  Mind you, the listing above is just at SOB's.  There is so much more going on around the city that I have not even had a chance to check out yet.  I am sure I will have more to relay in the next few weeks.

Flashback of the day: Hmmm, today I figured I would go with the artists in my quote.  It is a classic of course and a summer cannot go by without you hearing it...

Enjoy the long Labour Day weekend!

Tha Connoisseur 

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Madness...Well It's Here Ain't It??

"Confusion never stops, closing walls and ticking clocks..."  Clocks - Coldplay

I will get straight to it - I joined Facebook.  And they say a Blackberry has addictive tendencies.  Don't get me wrong, I am certainly addicted to my Crackberry (or as I lovingly call her-Sienna), however this Facebook crap is certainly creeping up to a close second on my "I am an addict of..." listing.  And yes I have been a naysayer for the longest time, receiving a Pinta load of invites for this thing since its inception.  And me being the stubborn mule that I am, said HELL TO THE NAH.  Well I broke down and joined a couple of weeks ago for networking purposes (yes that's what I'm calling it) and boy oh boy.  I have been able to touch base with some pretty special people in my life with whom I have lost touch with over the years.  I will admit that I am having fun, but I will not be on the Facebook bandwagon telling everyone and their mother,father and donkey to join.  Sorry, that's just not me.  Nonetheless, I will continue enjoying it until I decide to shut down that Mutha.

Alright, with all of that said here is Monday Madness-last weeks news that made me cuss cringe or shake my head:

1)  Another wretched musical abomination: Why oh why do we need Girlicious?  Where the france did that one come from?  I will admit that I did watch the previous nonsense for the search for "The Next Member of Nicole's Group."  But this??!!  Well I happened to catch a bit from the last show and I almost pitched something at the lovely 42" flat screen that does not belong to me.  When Robin declared to what's her face that her weakness was being a weak singer (and I have heard this young lady on the mic before, weakness is being polite) I was thinking alright, she's gone.  But Robin kept the damn chick in her group!  Knowing well that her voice sucks.  Now I am sorry, that shows us how the music industry is quick to put something together fast that "looks good" (and this really doesn't but hey...that's my opinion) but doesn't sound good.  So we all know that this singingless (new word) chick will be strewn into a song by TECHNOLOGY for a long breath in the chorus or a chooing "oohhh" or "ahhhh" 'cause her ass can't sing!!  Much to the chagrin of my girl Adri and I (and I say this QUITE sarcastically), this atrocity has to stop.  Stop putting this crap on TV, enough is enough.  Where is a good episode of Heros or CSI when you need it?

2) I thought this was PRECIOUS: I am a fan of Terrance Howard, really I am.  I absolutely loved him in "The Best Man."  I always wondered how long it took him to learn that guitar solo he did in the movie, it was wicked!  And now Mr. Howard has decided to release an album.  Hmmm, after listening to this I am not quite sure that was such a good idea.  I thought he would stick to solos and such, NOT singing.  But we of course could be so lucky.  Check out the vid below and let me know what you think.  Personally, I think that it is on some Kraft Macaroni and Cheese bullish and he could have come out MUCH harder acoustically than that because he can actually play the hell out of a guitar.  Dahlin, please please keep your day job.  Guess it's hard out there being a pimp in truth...

3) WHY WHY WHY!!!!!: If I start blogging on this wholeheartedly, this blog will turn into a comedic movie script.  I especially love how he says "rappers are swagger-jacking his signature singing style...stealing the T-Pain effect..."  W-T-F!!???  Are you serious??  Ummm one, you can't sing WITHOUT a vocoder!  And buddy you are not the first to use it (Roger Troutman, Midnight Star, Teddy Riley and so many more quality artists BEFORE you for god's sake!)  and there is no thought process to your lyrics!!!  I am spent.  Just read this and get a good laugh...(SOHH.com)

4) Speechless, yet not surprised: For us Torontonians and everyone else who caught this show out there, go back a bit with me.  Last year at the Ice Cream Tour we were subjected to one of the worst performances that Toronto has ever seen.  K-Ci and JoJo from Jodeci were on the bill and oh wow, I was so disgusted yet sad that they had come to this.  A duo with an amazing debut album and from one of the best groups in the 90's, totally effed up the whole show.  JoJo had seriously looked like he had a day pass from whatever hospital and did not look or sound well.  And K-Ci had been flying around the stage and into the crowd screaming like he was high off of something.  Well this clip below kind of sums up a lot really.  You will unfortunately have to watch it as far as the 1:53 mark.  Man so sad...and K-Ci doesn't even do anything!!!  Wow...you know everyone who used "All My Life" at their wedding is well vex, because it just doesn't mean the same anymore.  I hope they both get the help that they obviously need.

5) I think I just threw up in my mouth yet again: Brandy's little brother did it again.  I am going to be honest, since there is no other way for me to be.  I am not really a Brandy fan anymore.  I used to be, until the day I interviewed her.  Everything kind of went down the drain for me and I have not supported anything she has done after "Never Say Never" anyhow.  And as for her brother's antics, I just don't get it.  In case y'all don't know here is a summation: Dude had a sex tape with Kim Kardashian, was offered to pose in Playboy, is supposed to be packing like a 20 incher in his pants, is with his suga mama Whitney Houston and can't sing a lick but had a few chart hits.  Ray J has inked a deal with VH1 for his own dating show.  Come on, wasn't Flavor Flav enough!?  All we need is another misrepresentation from an idiot of a black man about "how to get a stoopid attention grabbing woman in X amount of days."  Talk about the degradation of Black Love.

Flashback of the day:

Here's how Midnight Star used to do it!  Gotta love pastels...:

See y'all soon...

Tha Conoisseur 

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Shame, The Embarrassment...Vindication=Earth Wind & Fire!

"You will find, peace of mind, if you look way down in your heart and soul..." That's The Way of The World - Earth Wind & Fire

This is just shameful, I should really be ashamed of myself.  There is no excuse I know, but I will still try my best to come up with a good one.  Hmmm...thought about it...and nope, sorry - nothing.  Alright, here it is again, with my tail in between my legs - I'M SORRY!!

As you can see by the above date, I had good intentions.  However today is Thursday, no you are not loosing it.  So it's been about a week and change and I have left my page barren like Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard.  I am surprised I still have readers.  I know there is no Monday Madness to redeem myself, however I figured if I left some video and a little write up of my time with Earth Wind & Fire, I will be vindicated.  

So as of now, it has been 11 days since I saw Earth Wind & Fire at Casino Rama.  I still do not understand why a place like Casino Rama would have such prominent acts at their venue.  But then again, we all understand the ploy of drawing in the patrons so that they can spend all of their hard earned money at the casino slot machines.  And another point to mention - they do have a concert hall, a really nice one actually.  I just shake my head at the fact that everyone has to drive 2 hours (from Toronto) and maybe longer from other surrounding areas to get to Orillia.  Anywho, that is where I was driven to for this show.  So enough of the ranting and on about the show.

Just a side note: Apology from the jump: these vids did not come out too clear.  

Many people have asked me how come I don't take longer clips of songs for your listening pleasure.  To be honest, the reason is - I can't stay still long enough.  It's bad enough that there is excessive shaking for the 21 to 40 seconds of the chorus that I do tape.  However, you try standing still taping "Boogie Wonderland" while it is blaring in your ears.  Unless you are dead, there is no way that you cannot move to that funk.  And people, I am a gal who likes to shake her ass.

Our seats were not that great compared to my usual concert seat selection.  That would be because I found out about the show last minute and my girl and I were quite happy to take what we got.  And thank god we did, because both shows ended up being sold out.  It was a great show from beginning to end and I was pretty much taken aback from how good they sounded.  Phillip Bailey can still hit those high notes like it ain't a joke.  The last time I saw him perform was on a tribute show on BET I believe it was (trust me it was a long time ago, because that channel is not listed as one of my favorites in my daily viewing pleasure) and he sort of missed the note he was trying to hit.  Therefore at his attempt at the concert, I was getting ready for a few cracks and shrills.  But much to my delight, he hit every which one of those notes.  Here, listen for yourself:

"Boogie Wonderland"

There was a great duet by Phillip Bailey and Ralph Johnson midway through the show.  Phillip on vocals and percussion and Ralph on drums.  It was amazing and of course, I was so entranced by the whole thing I have no vid - sorry.  HOWEVER, I did manage to get a segment of the show that I labelled "grown folk" music.  It just blew my mind and I got to thinking about the intricacies of a band.  Each person has to be able to stand out on their own, yet at the same time come together as one and blend in seamlessly as a group.  Amazing.  

Bobby Burns Jr making his trumpet cry for mercy.

And Blogger is playing the ass with me yet again, so I am not able to post my other vids or pics.  I guess 2 vids out of 5 is better than nothing at all.

I think the only complaint that I have is that I did not hear neither of my favorite slow tracks.  They skipped over "Can't Hide Love" (how do you skip over that?!) and "Love's Holiday."  Two EW&F gems!  But hey, I am still living and unfortunately they can't play all of their hits.  Earth Wind & Fire did what they came to do and did it well.  After I lost my hard earned money at the slot machines, breaking my casino winning streak - it was time to get the hell outta dodge.  I had a great time and who knows, I just might find my tail back at Casino Rama again for another concert.  

You can check out my full concert review on Earth Wind & Fire here, at Soultracks.com

Flashback of the day: Seeing that I did not get to hear my jam, here it is for your and my listening pleasure.

See y'all soon (ah promise!!!)...

Tha Connoisseur 

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sorry..Is All That I Can Say...

(You are supposed to sing the title with either a reggae beat in mind or Tracey Chapman.  Hey, there is always choice!)

Alright, so I have done it again.  One whole week without a peep.  As you can see by the time, I will not be able to bring to you what I wanted - which was a little page on Earth Wind & Fire.  If I sat down to write it now, it would not make any sense and you would need a decoder to decipher my language.  I promise I will get that to you soon with a few vids.  In the mean and in between time, do you and check out some of my peeps under my blog roll for some good reading!

Of course I have to come correct with the Flashback of the day:  I am feeling kinda nostalgic...hell when am I not?  If you don't know what this is, shame on you!!

Have a great weekend...

Tha Connoisseur 

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Monday Madness!

"Hit you with no delayin' so what ya sayin' yo..." Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See - Busta Rhymes

FIRST AND FOREMOST: We lost two very talented people this weekend - Bernie Mac and Issac Hayes. My favorite Bernie Mac line is from Kings of Comedy. Y'all have to remember the scene where he talks about the two badasses he adopted from his sister. Just remembering him cooing about the little boy going downstairs to get some "Milk n' cuuuuukies" has me in stitches everytime I think about it. That along with the stuttering little boy and the school bus...classic Bernie.

My favorite Issac Hayes thing would be anything composed by him. You can tell when Isaac put his touch on any instrumental from Shaft's theme to Alicia Keys' "Rock With You". And I cannot lie, I was a big South Park viewer for a bit and still am off and on. Chef kills me with his nasty self.

We will miss these talents greatly. Rest well.

Now, you guys have to be proud of me-I have managed to bring Monday Madness to you on time. The snag is trying to do the same thing next Monday. Please, do not hold me to anything...

Here is Monday Madness, the news that made me cuss, cringe and just shake my head...

1) This HAD to be first: I just had to share, because I did not want to be the only one sitting here having all the fun. I was reading up on my updates from my people's over at Soulbounce.com, only to find out that they have a wonderfully stupendous name for my favorite ass of all, Robert "Ze Pedo" Kelly. I sure think that Chester The Child Molester is one that will make you fall off your seat. Or is it just me and my sick sense of humor acting up again. Oh how I love Soulbounce, let me count the ways...And to add to my R. Kelly disdain, one of my favorite r&b sangers-Joe, is sharing with us that Chester himself was behind a lot of tomfoolery and bitchassness over at Jive records in relation to Joe's work. Check it out here. (eurweb.com)

2) For the love of airbrushing!!! WTF!!:

Do you seriously want me to comment on this here! I found a pic for Fashion Rocks of Miss Mariah Carey too, but I am still trying to figure out if that is actually HER in the picture. My my, I did not even know PCD were still prancing around doing whatever it is they do. And look at the pretty bikes, like the first inital is supposed to help me remember the rest of the 'other' Cats, names. Nicole is the singer. Period. And K, J, M and A are the back up dancers. Can't pull the wool over our eyes on this one. Music and its sad state of affairs...

3) You lost me on this one Matthew, however there is always choice and this is his: Apparently Matthew McConnaughey is going the extra mile for that "New Father Of The Year Award". Now I am not one to believe everything I read, but this one is something that made me shake my head and then some regardless. Besides, this is supposedly from an interview that will be airing soon. Matthew took his son's placenta home to plant in his orchard. Yes, you read this right. Wow, that brings a whole new meaning to fertilized crop. If you would like to read more, dare to click here. (yahoo.com)

4) Perhaps it's just me...: I was walking down the street the other day and noticed the ad for A&E's new drama The Cleaner starring Mr. Handsome himself, Benjamin Bratt. Now please, correct me if you think I am wrong. I was staring at the ad thinking to myself, how familiar the shot looked to me, only to remember that Hotlanta photog extraordinaire DBlanks shot something very similar in his last sessions with Ciara a while back.. Here is the A&E ad:

And this is the Derek Blanks shot of Ciara:

Again, tell me if it is just me.

5) Joke of all jokes...: During Caribana, an american man was arrested for speeding (150 mph plus!!). He was arrested under the street racing laws that came into effect this year. The gentleman's license was suspended and his car was impounded for 7 days. His reason for speeding...and please, try not to laugh too hard. His reasoning was: "he ate some corn soup that ran his belly and he was speeding to find a washroom to go do the business in". It just doesn't get any better than that.

Flashback of the day: I had to go with classic Janet here, because I saw the video the other day and it brought back some dancing memories. Ahhh to be young again...

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur

Friday, August 08, 2008

We've Got A Love Thang Going On...

"It's all about you, every day-every way.  It's all about you, you got it going on..."  It's All About You - Intro

I have finally risen from the slumber that I was under for the past few days.  You should have seen me trying to get my tail off the bed to go to work, not a pretty site trust me.  Monday was a complete write off from the craziness of the weekend.  I had emails and a couple of personal phone calls asking for Monday Madness.  SO SORRY!!!  I was surely out of commission and there was nothing that this brain of mine was going to put together that made any sense once so ever.  I mean come on, I didn't even spell "site" properly.

So today, I have decided to hit my page up with something I have not done in a hot minute- the album of the week!  This album came to me because right now, I am in the midst of transferring my CD collection of over a thousand CD's, to my little ol' MacBook (or as I call her affectionately, Ivory).  A woman has to have her music with her at all times, especially this woman!  I have already started this arduous task and now and then I fall on some albums that I have not come across in a long time.  Some I have to shuck off the dust particles and hug (my cd's are my CHILDREN!  Those who know me, know this!) and some are just mainstays, staples if you will.  One of my staples that I must admit I have not played in a long time is:

Dear lord, I LOVE me some Intro like a huge Junior's Cheesecake Cherry Pie!! I remember the first time I heard that voice.  Kenny Greene's voice is one that cannot be mistaken at all, especially when accompanied with Clinton "Buddy" Wike and and Jeff Saunders.  This is yet another album that came into play in my friendship of 15 years with my one of my sista-friends.  All we did was talk about Intro the night we both soaked it in.  She introduced me to the group and it was as they say, all she wrote after that.  This here, is an instant classic in my book.

Intro kept it real, there cannot be any arguments about that.  All of their songs were about love; well written and carefully executed. Kenny was the writer, the instrument, the voice along with Eddie F being the producer.  Collectively, the group sang about the many facets of love-"why don't you love me anymore" love ("Why Don't You Love Me"), "baby I am horny and need your love" love ("Come Inside") and "sexy, sensual, I want you" love ("Ecstasy of Love").  Where there was love, there was Intro.  The album Intro is another album that I can say I play from beginning to end, without flinching.  Sometimes even daring to ruin the flow and press repeat on a song or two.  With the album starting off on the tune of "Love Thang", you have no choice but to bounce.  Only to follow with "Let Me Be", both samples brining you back to the good times in hip hop with Brand Nubian and Ed O.G. and Da Bulldogs and even further back to the originals...however you can do some homework, I can't give everything away.   Song after song, it got better and better.  Especially once you reached the slow grooves on the tape beginning with the cover of Stevie Wonder's "Ribbon In The Sky".  If you have not heard this cover as yet, please do yourself a favor and hunt it down.  Some things are best to be left alone, but this one is not to be looked over.  To hear Kenny pleading to his loved one not to leave him  on "Don't Leave Me" had me wanting to console him, until I realized he was thoroughly over her on "Come Inside".  This song had EVERYONE buzzing back in the day, it was the backbone to every Quiet Storm cassette!  Ending the tape with "So Many Reasons" was just genius.  UNTIL I realized I was loosing out because I did not have the CD.  You see, the advantage to having the cassette, was the fact that the album was split in half.  Uptempo on one side and slow grooves on the other.  Having known that, I bought the tape.  But when I became aware that I was missing out on the bonus track, you know I had to run out and get the CD.  Of course, the bonus track "Ecstasy Of Love" ended up becoming my favorite track on the album.  Sexy, alluring, and all that yearning bottled up in one song.  Just one listen and you will understand.

 Kenny was an amazing writer, check out "Love No Limit" or "Reminisce" by Mary J Blige, or better yet both Intro albums.  My heart skipped a beat the day I heard that Kenny "G-Love" Greene was taken from us by AIDS.  We lost a gifted writer and singer and I thought at the time, that we lost Intro too.  Jeff and Buddy are still doing the do and I happened to fall on their MySpace pages, only to learn that Intro (with new lead Kermit Quinn II) is going to be releasing a new album this year.  I am not sure if this is going to be a good idea, since Intro was primarily Kenny's voice and that is the sound we know.  I believe that is a lot of pressure for the new lead, however I will of course take a listen to see what they will offer.  I mean, Quinn was previously a part of Blackstreet so it can't be all bad.  I am eager to hear what will be released, they know they have a reputation to uphold so I am hoping they will come correct.  I couldn't find anything for Buddy, but you can find Jeff's page here and Quinn's here. And do know that I will be touching on their second album soon!

Flashback for the day:  Well, this was hard!  I love every song on this album and there is no video for my favorite track.  So I will go with the intro (no pun intended):

Have a good weekend y'all...

Tha Connoisseur 

Friday, August 01, 2008

Tis Carnival Time Again!!!

"Waaave, hold it! Waaave just hold it! Hold it, hold it, hold it....NOW LET IT GO!!!... Faye-Anne Lyons - Get On

Yes, believe it or not I am awake at an ungodly hour. The joys of having executive hours and working from Tuesday to Thursday really do pay off. This weekend being both a holiday and Caribana down here, has the city humming and getting ready to come alive on Saturday. So you know I am in my glee because it is time to celebrate the West Indian culture with food, feteing and fun! My agenda is full, but I will decide next week if there was anything worth talking about. So for now, for my American (and Canadian) massive that plan to come down, across or whatever and check out the festivities, you can find all your Caribana info here. Remember that there are a lot of things to do besides Caribana going on this weekend. There is also the Irie Music Festival being presented by one of my editors, for those who are not feeling the soca vibe and prefer a bit of reggae instead. So there is a choice! However, I will be preferrential and say do the soca of course! Have to support my culture! You can find more info here. Also, it would be nice if everyone would take a bit of time to school themselves on the history of carnival. Contrary to popular belief, it is not all about prancing around half naked and wukin' up you know. There is a history behind everything from the time carnival falls right up to the Mas costumes and J'Ouvert. And no, carnival is not just in Trinidad and Tobago or the West Indies for that matter. If you are interested, here is a quick guide, check it out. Please remember to be on your best behavior, enjoy the festivities and most of all be mindful at all times. Enjoy de lime!!! (translation=have fun hanging out!)

St. Lucian women doing the damn thing in 2008!

The other thing I absolutely had to mention is - YOU HAVE TO SEE BATMAN:THE DARK KNIGHT IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN IT AS YET!! The sequel was better than the first installment and will have you wondering what the hell hit you when you leave the theatre. It is not just about the caped crusader, but about morality, social injustices, choosing the right path when faced with the fork in the road and dealing with the concequences from the choices that you make. I was STUNNED after the film, Heath Ledger was WICKED (but keep in mind that it is a Batman movie, not "The Heath Ledger show...although he did do a wicked job. He had me in stitches!) and deserves that Oscar nomination-if anything. Again, go and see it, you will not regret it. If you have seen it already, let me know what you thought.

Flashback of the day: No flashback today, this is all I want to hear in my head this weekend...try and keep up!

Some Trini vibes...

Some Bajan vibes...

And of course some Lucian vibes!

See y'all soon...if I can peel myself off the bed I may have Monday Madness for ya...

Tha Connoisseur