Welcome to Day 2 of the Summer Spirit Fest where the overall theme would find its’ roots in the highs and lows of love.
Once again the park opened at 1 PM and there was no wait to get the party started, literally. Baltimore’s own DJ Quicksilva is known at the “Party Kingpin“, and for rightful reason. This brother has studied the art of mixing since being in high school over 20 years ago, and his experience shows in any of his sets. He’s got the ability to rock a party, regardless of the crowd, demographic, or music genre, he literally can do it all. I have to say that he was a welcome addition to Sunday’s show to give that bit of “life beat” during set changes and allowed for an overall better flow.
The Dynamic Duo of Frank Sirus & Kim Michelle, more affectionately known as Ms. Kim & Scooby continued putting “ON” for the DMV. You may have heard the name Ms. Kim because she is often times referred to as the First Lady of Go-Go and is featured on many classic songs from the genre, and Scooby is one of the lead singers for the famed trend-setting Go-Go band Lissen, penned the “godson of Go-Go”. For those that weren’t familiar with them, the minute they got into some of their past hits, it was a friendly reminder of YES, you in fact DO know who we are.
Trap, house and jazz are three styles of music that you wouldn’t tend to find being played at the same venue simultaneously, much less fused together right? Well the next performer Masego has it set out to push the limits of the norm and present those genres as one unified unit, and that’s what he had to offer the SSF. I’m sure folks weren’t expecting what to get from him as many had probably never heard from him, but when this brother showed that he was beyond being a vocalist and jumped from the drums to a sax, I think that he proved his point that he is a musical real deal.
Around 3:45 PM everyone’s favorite R&B cousin, the Love King Raheem DeVaughn was entering the stage to put it down as only he can. Giving more validity to the statement that R&B is truly NOT dead, he used his 50 minute set to serenade the ladies with such classics as “Customer“, “Woman“, and “Guess Who Loves You More” while telepathically “impregnating” them, yes, you heard right. Just because he spent a great portion of his time churning out his past joints, don’t think that he didn’t come with new music, as he pushed his new single “Don’t Come Easy” off of his upcoming album to be released in October of this year. Midway through, his brother in music Wes Felton came out and as the duo The CrossRhodes, they performed their song “America“. For his last 10 minutes on stage, he did something that he’s claimed he has never done before, and that was execute a Go-Go set, and during that time invited his little sis Maycee out to perform an impressive rendition of Anita Baker’s “Angel“.
I have to be honest, the next young lady who was about to tear down the stage is someone who I had never heard of before. She’s an artist out of Detroit that goes by the name of Lizzo, and she’s got a WHOLE lot of personality! Considering herself the “Big Bodied Beyoncé”, she exuded the same amounts of confidence that Queen Bey does when she’s on stage. As one to promote body positivity, she backed that notion up with pretty much every aspect of her show, even down to her dancers. The “big girls” as she called them worked it twice as hard as female dancers half their size, proving that weight nor size should be any restriction to what you want to do, or living your full life.
She’s fully on board with the theme of women empowerment, displayed by songs out of her catalog such as “Jerome“, which is about a scrub of a guy (yea, we know that sounds kind of familiar) and another entitled “Truth Hurts“. Before she exited the stage, she left us with her current single “Good As Hell“. I’m all about giving new music a chance, so major shout out to Lizzo, her DJ, and her dancers for putting it down.
DC’s legendary Backyard Band came out major deep, but that’s nothing new as they boast 20 years of experience and local homegrown musical flavor. For over 45 minutes, they gave us the CRANK that most people had been waiting for, especially that rocking Go-Go rendition of Adele’s “Hello” and “Pretty Girls“.
Kindred the Family Soul took the stage on day two, being a last minute addition to the lineup. Originally Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals were to perform, but for some unknown reason they had to pull out and Kindred took their place. The dynamic duo of Aja and Fatin Dantzler woke things up on the afternoon of Sunday, August 7th and took everyone to church with their energetic and soulful set. These two surrendered selections about love and happiness, and their passion for each other was visible when they treated concertgoers to heartfelt renditions of “Stars” and “Far Away.” They even performed my favorite song “Rhythm of Life“, including the King Britt Remix which take its from a soulful, jazzy cut to an instant dance floor hit. Celebrating 20 years of marriage has NEVER looked so good!
The relative newbie to the music scene Daniel Caesar was one of the headliners for the Sunday concert. He kept things pretty simple rocking out in some Adidas sweats and a baseball cap. Performing songs from his EP “Pilgrim’s Paradise” and “Freudian“, fans went full on crazy, especially the ladies, when the beginning chords of “Get You“, “The Call” and latest single “Best Part” played over the house system. What I recognized about his set was that it was relatively short, barely going over 30 minutes in running time. Yes, we are aware that he IS a new artist, but folks came specifically to see him, so he could have filled in more time by performing covers and giving people their full money’s worth.
After an extremely long, hot, tiring and music field weekend, the Summer Spirit Festival was nearing an end when the The Roots Crew closed out the show, and I don’t think anyone else could have fit that bill for this occurrence. With being on stage for almost 2 hours straight, they took us straight to musical Heaven. Personally I’m a stickler for live bands during a concert, as the band is the driving force for any show. If you’ve got a crappy band, then well, that dictates my feelings for how your performance will be. All while The Roots are a collective of individual musicians, WHEN they come together is when they are the most powerful.
Sure we all know and love Black Thought and Questlove, but you should take the time to get to know the other members…well that’s except if you were at SSF, because we got a little taste of everyone individually. Damon “Tuba Gooding Jr.” Bryson was moving across the stage with some of the most fluidity that I’ve seen, sans a professional dancer, and this was WITH a 35 pound tuba in his arms. Jeremy Ellis was absolutely amazing on the beatbox machine. I’ve never witnessed anyone’s fingers move so fast in my life to create a mix of musical patterns that blended so well together. “Captain” Kirk Douglas is a triple threat like no other, strumming the strings of the guitar, providing lead vocals on songs that he wasn’t even featured on, and giving you a two-step here and there. The percussion battle between Stro Elliott and Questlove was just epic and gave me all that I needed. The Roots were going in for so long that the house lights were about to turn on and the venue was about to kick us out, that right there is when you KNOW someone loves what they are doing, and we appreciated all of it.