Last Monday was the season finale of Artist Live! Boston hosted and coordinated by Phaedra with rotating guests hosts. I had heard a lot of great things about this showcase of Greater Boston talent, so I took a trip over the bridge to Cambridge’s Ryles to check them out.
Fortunately I had met organizer and founder Phaedra a few days prior at the Dwele show and she and Erin Hines Associate Director, saved me and my guest a table towards the front for great viewing. We arrived on time, but in true show business fashion, the “promptly” at 7:30 turned out to be more of a 9ish, but JAMN 94.5 DJ Hustle Simmons played appropriate mood music in the meantime, giving us time to order drinks and food while we waited.
In my estimation, they put the less polished acts up first, hey, ya gotta start somewhere. Eke and Maverick had sets then G. Eyes who came up with a beer in his hand “Searching for a queen he wanna hit” and a “classy freak” while he “stacking money” K. Mafia told us how he “stays fly” in a sing-song rapper style that was pleasant on the ears.
Next we got a bit more soulful as N’Shell Mongol sang to the slightly out of tune piano, Ashley Storm had her pianist take to the keys as well as she sang with gusto an original piece by a Boston producer.
Unassuming yet, soulful Richard Saunders has changed up his look to more reflect his retro singing style and did “Still alone” and a slow motion rendition of John Legend’s “Everybody Knows.”
Krysta Youngs increased the tempo a bit with Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”, which in my opinion, should never be performed without a techno beat…I’ve seen it performed with an acoustic guitar and with piano and it just doesn’t have the same effect. She was putting in rocker and churning out Vaudeville. *smh. Fortunately, she made a comeback with her original piece “Loves Garage” a catchy tune “selling all your stuff at the love garage sale”. Give this woman a backup band and she’d of torn down the house!
Taking the baton on the energy vibe were The Goonies, a multicultural SKA group, that had great positive energy about them making us “Lose Control” learn the “Life of a Dreamer” and “Get our Hands up” Which I did because they were my favorite group of the night!
Intermittent with the acts were Phaedra’s antidoctal stories and a surprise visit from Boston native, producer heavy weight Marvin “Marvelous” McIntyre. What a treat!
It we’re giving out awards for the catchiest song of the night, it would to go to Ray Diamond’s “You’re body’s so edible” which springs to mind every time I open the refrigerator. His voice is sultry and pleasing, though I got a bit confused by his style, yellow fro-hawk and facial piercings don’t quite scream R&B, but his pipes certainly did.
Lady Daniela did an innovative arrangement of Jill Scott’s “Long Walk”, while Ray Royale was too-cool-for-school with his shades on while he did a rendition of Dru Hill’s “sleeping in my bed” but on true Sisquo tip, no background singers needed.
Jai Shawn (not to be confused with Jay Sean) did his response to Alicia Keyes “Ready” to let all the ladies know he was ready “No if and’s or maybe’s…I’ll put a ring on it lady”
Jonathan Hart took the stage boldly dressed in all white on a rainy day to take us on a Journey with “Don’t Stop believing. And he went to “chauch” on that song! He was later joined by a surprise duet from Artist Live! Organizer Phaedra who showed the youngin’s how it is suppos’d to be done! After that performance, why try?
At 11 p.m. I turned into a pumpkin and had to slip out before evening ended. The night was a whirlwind of talented artists in an environment that is there to support their success.
The only drawbacks have didn’t have anything to do with the music, but for the overall styling of the artists, which for the most part was just terrible, club panty dresses, laced biker shorts, wrinkled shirts…etc. Having a stylist “in residence”, would really raise the level of professionalism of the show. What also would be helpful would be to have the artists names projected somewhere, I’m sure I misspelled some names, feel free to leave corrections in the comments.
Also be cautious with who you choose to co-host. This particular evening co-host was DJ Moneybags, who did a really botched up job and should stick to the tables, I’m jussayin’, it was distracting. I’m glad Phaedra took over most of the show, you did a fantastic job! And there was the out of tune piano. *sigh.
But like I said, the above comments are just nitpicky suggestions for what was is undoubtably a great exhibition of some of the talent that the area has to offer. You could tell that they took time with the artists, allowed them to rehearse and didn’t allow them to overstay their welcome on stage; you know how we can do…ha!
I applaud the group for what they are doing for the talent of this city and can’t wait for next season!