There's something so intensely
intimate about a concert at the House of Blues. It's a venue second to none in Chicago. The sounds on stage are as varied as a trip from one end of the radio dial to the other. And in that diversity, the venue is kept fresh and exciting without ever seeming pretentious in its varied programming.
Last Sunday the Neo-Soul R&B artist (she doesn't like the term 'Diva') Angie Stone performed at the House of Blues. There could be no passing up an intimate opportunity to interact with such an incredible performer. A suprising discovery early on, this show wasn't just about Angie. She brought along the up-and-coming Van Hunt as her opener (more on him later).
Miss Stones' show started with a brief review of many of her well known hits, spiced up a bit to keep them fresh. In anticipation of her forthcoming album "Stone Love", this tour is focusing its energy on her newer tracks. And without a doubt, she's got a lot in waiting for us.
Powerful ballads mixed with soul shaking funk dominate her sound. A song named "Remy Red" is a smooth steppin' track, aptly named for her tour sponsor. Another track called "I Wanna Thank You" is the quintessential Neo-Soul sound. Plus, a collaboration with rapper THC on a couple tracks was punctuated with an exclamation point when she commented "that's my fiancée, ya'll" after he made a quick cameo on and off the stage. Now that's good gossip. But make sure you keep your eyes and ears open for more of Angie as her album debut of July 6 draws near.
A new player on the music scene who is stirring things up quite a bit is Van Hunt. His self-titled debut album out on Capitol is, quite
simply put, damn good music. It catches you from beginning to end, folding you into stories about life and living that we all can relate to.
His sound is both familiar and unique at the same time. A bit of Lenny Kravitz style rock, a smooth dash of Maxwell, and a twist of D'Angelo just begin to describe the surface of the Van Hunt sound. His rich vocal harmonies and stick-with-you hooks are timeless. Best of all, this is one of the few new albums that can be (and should be) listened to from start to finish.
Not only does he have an incredible voice, this is HIS album. Exclusively writing and arranging most of the tracks, he's also credited as the producer. This kind of talent doesn't stay grounded for long, so expect a stellar rise in the very near future for Van Hunt.