"Come out, come out, come out, wherever you are. Do you know who you are?..." Superstar - PJ Morton
Last Thursday after a long day of work and school, I decided to head up to Harlem, meet up with my ladies from ONUTSS and catch PJ Morton in session at Billie's Black.
For those of you who do not know, Billie's Black is a small, quaint venue. It surely brings a whole new meaning to an "intimate" soiree. With a miniscule stage tucked towards the front of the restaurant, it is a great venue for a more personal feel for a special musical experience.
PJ Morton hails from N'awlins (New Orleans) and brings the heat like it's nobody's business. He brings it to you raw and that is a pleasure to see in this day of autotune, vocoder and all that mess. But then again, when do I ever review any of those artists? Moving along...
PJ made the venue his home - just him, his keyboard, his percussionist and bass player. So heavy, yet so light. They meshed seamlessly, because obviously you don't always need a huge 10 piece band to be the filler. Sometimes, less is more. And in this case, it was exactly what everyone needed.
Starting his set with the feel-good, sing-song track "Blah Blah Blah," (Jiborish) he was already in everyone's good graces. The whole restaurant was singing along from the first word, and literally took over the song during the chorus. Track after track, the Grammy Award winning writer had everyone geared up for the night ahead. With the rhapsodic "Superstar," the floaty "Fly Away," the unforgiving "How We Were" and the jazz fused "No Ordinary Love,' it was an evening worthy of a fireplace, a glass of wine and a room full of good friends. And that was the exact vibe emanating from Billie's Black that night. Midway through the show, we where treated to a phenomenal rendition of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" by Kimberly Nichole. Kimberly took control of the mic and by the end of the first verse, she made the song her own. Delivered through her power and testament to the song, I seriously thought I was in chuch. And of course after an evening of sing-a-longs and break downs (PJ stopped in the middle of "Today" to break it down so it could forever and consistently be broken), he ended the set with a seasonal Christmas Carol - "The Christmas Song." Sorry it's a bit dark, as the restaurant's lighting was dimmed. Thanks to my girl Detrel from ONUTSS for the borrow:
That was my first foray into the world of PJ Morton and I will say, it is a trip I do intend to take again. I love his music, but never saw him live until now. I do hope to catch him in full concert again sometime soon. Perhaps during the release of his new album in 2009. Right now, you can enjoy the sounds of PJ Morton Live From LA and find more info about the talented singer on his official website here and his MySpace page here.
Flashback of the day: PJ put me in a mellowed out mood and seriously made me all warm inside. Took me back to this song right here. One of, or perhaps, Tha Connoisseur's favorite song EVER. I can't explain the bliss and heart palpitations that I am overcome with when I hear this song:
See y'all soon...