The DC Love Festival took over the Washington Convention Center this weekend. So while I didn’t find love in a pair of pumps and nice dress, what I did discover was a new liking to artists I was unfamiliar with and a deeper connection to some favorites.
The line-up was headed by Raheem Devaughn and Marsha Ambrosius and was full of up-and-coming DMV favorites Black Alley, Lysette Titi, John Michael, B.Blunt and Kyonte.
It’s HARD to be the act that follows Black Alley when you’re anywhere in the DMV. They are the hometown favorites that should be national favorites. I’m also in love with them. I mean, I’ve seen them perform many times before and I actually just got a few shots of them at a concert last month, but still! Their “Soul Garage” movement, how they describe their unique blend of multi-genre music, is a recipe for success. Black Alley doesn’t just go into a musical zone while performing like many bands, they come to put on a show and are enjoying the show just as much as the audience. And of course they did their well-known hits and covered a few top 40 Hip Hop and R&B favorites. “Heavy Hitters” and “Bad Girl” still get me crankin! And their remix of Trinidad James’ “All Gold Everything” gets the people sweatin’ every time. WHEW!
Marsha Ambrosius was definitely one of the more engaging acts that I’ve seen in a while. She makes you feel like she’s your friend when on stage. In addition to her powerful voice and lyricism that touches you and sends you on a path of love nostalgia, she is also a great story teller via her music. She shared that sometimes she gets emotional because to sing some of her songs means going back to the emotional state she was in while she wrote it. For some songs that means lots of energy and positive thinking, but for others, many others, that means love and/or heartbreak. From “Far Away” to “Hope She Cheats On You” and even our cultural love classic “Say Yes,” we all felt a bit closer to her and the songs themselves.
What would a love concert be without the last act, Raheem Devaughn. Years ago, he told ladies that they were the “customers” and he was the server – this same formula of giving audiences what they want, love and more love, has helped him create his own distinct smooth romance sound. I hadn’t seen him perform in a few years but the same energy he had when he was just getting a taste of stardom and opening for large acts is STILL there. He hasn’t changed that part of his set, but he’s a much more dynamic musician today. However.. it almost frustrated me as a photographer because he hardly stays in one place for more than a few seconds. 🙂 Still, his classics “Customer,” “Woman” and “You” are just that, classics.
Today, I’m thankful for good music, a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend and anything celebrating LOVE! God Bless.