Held in the three-story yet still intimate setting of B.B. King's Blues Club at Universal Citywalk, this rare performance by Dwele on July 30 was definitely a treat. The Virgin recording artist has the unusual distinction of being an indie soul artist on a major label. His roots lie in the Detroit soul scene, having worked with Slum Village and more recently with artists such as Goapele and Hil St. Soul. His soft voice and creative arrangements are backed by fierce and muscular beats, making his music appealing to both men and women.
The unfortunate part of the night -- part of RK Entertainment Group's monthly live soul concert series -- was that patrons were forced to sit (or stand) through several amateur opening acts. It's great to give new talent a shot, but when admission costs $35, the openers should at least be at a certain level. The annoying emcee didn't help matters, either; most of the audience just wanted to see Dwele and dance to some good music without the constant narration. The one saving grace was L.A.-based Laura Jane, who enchanted with a brilliant and eclectic set of jazz-tinged, Latin-infused soul.
Once Dwele hit the stage, though, it proved to be worth the wait. The smooth soulster gracefully performed many of the gems from his most recent release, last year's Some Kinda. Just as it is on record, Dwele's voice was butter coated live. Without missing a beat, the nimble performer transitioned from sitting behind the keyboard to chatting with the audience to swaying across the stage and even into signing directly to his female fans. Highlights included a bumping rendition of "I Think I Love You" and a well-received performance of "A Pimp's Dream."
Dwele lived up to his own hype, delivering a performance that was both professional and intimate.
RK Entertainment Group: http://www.rkentertainmentgroup.com
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