One of the most reclusive figures in music came out of hiding last night on May 21, 2014 as the Red Bull Music Academy hosted “A Conversation with D’Angelo” at the Brooklyn Museum. The auditorium was packed with fans, like me all who thought we’d finally get some of our questions answered – namely “WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN FOR THE LAST 14 YEARS?!”
Nelson George and D’Angelo
Music critic Nelson George moderated the conversation and it was super fascinating, even though extremely light on subjects such as the two solo albums D’Angelo has released over the last 20 years, 1995’s “Brown Sugar” (which was mentioned very briefly) and 2000’s “Voodoo” (which was discussed for much less time than D’Angelo’s first band – I.D.U. which stands for Intelligent, Deadly, Unique). Name-checked during the conversation were Jesse Johnson, Alan Leeds, Prince and Questlove (who came up to the stage twice to help fill in D’Angelo’s stories). It was also amusing that D’Angelo smoked cigarettes on stage inside the auditorium of a museum! This is the second time I’ve seen someone smoke cigarettes near art (the first being Courtney Love).
D’Angelo and Questlove
The most fascinating fact of the night had nothing to do with D’Angelo’s music and instead it was about Sly Stone (of Sly and The Family Stone). D’Angelo mentioned that he’s met with Sly and Sly’s played him some of the “vast amounts” of unreleased music that he’s consistently recorded over the years including Sly’s experimentation with Auto-Tune, but D’Angelo said that he takes the vocal enhancer to a whole new level of weirdness – and could we expect any less from Sly? Will those Sly songs ever see the light of day? We have no idea. Will any new studio material from D’Angelo ever see the light of day? We have no idea. Though I thoroughly enjoyed watching the talk, I learned less about D’Angelo than is on his Wikipedia page, which was not just disappointing, but it left me scratching my head wondering why “the elephant in the room” (aka “why has there been no new music in 14 years aside from a surprise concert here and there over the years”) was not the focal point of this discussion.
Until there is new music, at least the world has the classic “Voodoo” and “Brown Sugar” albums to help us groove and make babies to. Any time you want to release music, the world is ready, willing and waiting!
Apparently the conversation was streamed live over the internet and I am not sure if it will be archived for later viewing, so check Google.
At first when you see “Elements” by David Datuna at Birnam Wood Galleries, you think to yourself “oh God! How original to use some of the most famous pictures of icons in an exhibit. That’s never been done before… NOT! The artist couldn’t even be bothered to use an obscure picture of an icon? UGH!” But you immediately forgive that crime when you see David Datuna’s spin on things – his works feature hundreds of pairs of eye glasses!
Let’s have a closer look…
Jackie O, John Lennon
Many other instantly recognizable iconic images are on display including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, John Lennon and Andy Warhol.
“Elements” by David Datuna is on display at Birnam Wood Galleries (located at 514 West 24th Street) in Manhattan through June 7, 2014.
Sometimes you CAN judge a book by its cover. If the book in question is Matthew Hemerlein aka Lo-Fang, the ‘cover’ will be a musician that is so gorgeous that even if you end up hating his music (which I did not by the way, in fact, quite the opposite), you will have better visual candy than you would see from going to many art galleries. Needless to say, Lo-Fang’s show at Bowery Ballroom on April 27, 2014 was great! Before the night was over, Matthew played violin, cello, bass and guitar and I read on line that he also plays piano! His music is moody and mellow (think Bon Iver meets Gotye) and he is not afraid to rework a beloved classic song or two and make them his own. His take on Ginuwine’s “Pony” was really unexpected and great as was the song you are about to see – “You’re The One That I Want” from the movie Grease. He turned the Olivia Newton-John/John Travolta duet into a gorgeous ballad that is sure to go viral. Pop sensation Lorde enlisted Lo-Fang to open on her recent tour of the US and he performed on Good Morning America today. The future is bright for Lo-Fang and I am looking forward to hearing more great things! Thanks for a great show Matthew!
And now, here’s “You’re The One That I Want.” Please share this with your friends and help make Lo-Fang a star!
After a 20 year absence from the stage, the always funky Andre Cymone made his return to New York on March 31, 2014 at Bowery Electric. Andre Cymone, along with Prince, was a pioneer in the Minneapolis Sound that so many people have emulated over the years, was once married to Jody Watley and has produced hits for Adam Ant. Now he’s back after a long hiatus with a new album entitled “The Stone.” His hour and a half set showcased a new 5 piece band of amazing musicians who were part James Brown, part Sly and The Family Stone and extremely rockin’ and funky!
He did not play “The Dance Electric,” but he did do an updated version of “Kelly’s Eyes,” and he performed the majority of “The Stone,” which features heart-felt lyrics, a nice rock edge and some funky little grooves that ran the gamut from soul to country music! He also threw in a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and I guarantee you, it’s the funkiest version you’ll ever hear! Just press play!
Photo and autograph courtesy of my insanely ridiculously large in-person autograph collection.
Sad news in the music world. Country music singer Mindy McCready has committed suicide at age 37. Her music career was overshadowed by public bouts of drug addiction and mental illness. She leaves behind two young children, a 6 year old and a 10 month old. So sad. RIP Mindy!