Prior to taking the stage King’s band played a couple of instrumentals, “Summer Shuffle” and “Don’t Mess Wit Me.” It was a very relaxing 15 minutes, but the crowd was getting restless by the end of the second song as they waited patiently for King.
The 74-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Fame alumnus took the stage as the band started playing “How Sweet It is,” followed by “Up on the Roof.” King’s vocals were spotty at times, but for the most part he sounded great, especially after 50-something years of singing.
The mostly older crowd remained seated, with some fans clapping to the beat. There were a few fans who headed to the closest aisle or to the back of Pano Hall where they could dance.
Continuing, King talked to the crowd just before heading into “This Magic Moment” and “There Goes My Baby.” In between songs a few fans would shout out a song for the singer to perform, with many shouting “Spanish Harlem,” which is one of King’s favorites.
When King finally got to “Spanish Harlem” the crowd gave him his largest round of applause, with some giving him a standing ovation.
King’s first solo hit after leaving the Drifters in 1960 was “Spanish Harlem” following up with “Stand by Me,” written with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. “Stand by Me” went on to be voted as one of the Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America. “Stand by Me,” “There Goes My Baby,” and “Spanish Harlem” were named as three of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll and received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.
King finished the evening off with “Midnight Hour,” with the crowd wanting more.
Richard Street, a past member of the singing group The Temptations died Wednesday at Saint Rose Dominican Hospital in Las Vegas due to a blood clot in one of his lungs. He was 70.
Wife Cindy told CNN, “He was really fighting for his life. He’s a fighter,” referencing another past member of the legendary Motown group she added, “They’re dancing up there in heaven, him and Damon. I’m in disbelief right now.”
Ottis “Damon” Harris died earlier this month due to prostate cancer, he was 62.
The Temptations’ were popular in the ‘60’s and ‘70s, and were known for their tight choreography, distinct harmonies, and flashy suits.
While Street was not an original member he joined the band in the early ‘70s and stayed with the group for the better part of 20 years. He was also the first member of the group that hailed from Detroit, where Motown originated.
During his time with the Temptations Street took part in the release of some of their most memorable songs including “Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” released in 1971 and 1972 respectively.
According to his wife he was proud to have been a part of black history while with the Temptations.
Street is survived by his wife and four children.
The Temptations’ were popular in the ‘60’s, ‘70s, and ’80 and were known for their choreography, distinct harmonies, and flashy suits.
Joining the group in 1971, replacing Eddie Kendricks, Harris sang on one of The Temptations biggest hits from 1972, “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.”
A Baltimore native, Harris was a resident of Owings Mills and died at the Joseph Richey Hospice in Seton Hill, after battling prostate cancer for 14 years. Family spokesman Chuck Woodson said he was in remission until three years ago. The cancer had “gotten pretty bad” by the end of last summer, Woodson said, leaving Harris in the hospital from November until last week, when he was transferred to the hospice.
Harris was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 47, when he was trying to make a comeback in the music industry. After being treated, Harris founded The Damon Harris Cancer Foundation in 2001. The organization is a non-profit company, designed to heighten awareness of prostate cancer diagnoses and treatments. The organization has a special focus in reaching African-American audiences.
Harris was with the band when they won three Grammy Awards and lent his voice to such hits as “Take a Look Around” and “Masterpiece.”
Coming into the group Harris had to change his name from Otis to Damon since the group already had an Otis in the lineup, founding member Otis Williams.
Harris left The Temptations in 1975.
In honor of Black History Month here is a look back at the history of African-American music and how it has influenced musicians today, including some photos of today’s top musicians.
African-American music is a term covering a diverse range of music and musical genres largely developed by black Americans. Jazz, blues, gospel, soul, and more recently rap constitute the principal genres of African-American music.
Their origins arose out of slavery characterizing the lives of black Americans prior to the American Civil War. The earliest forms of African-American music originated from those experiences with field hollers, work songs, improvisation, and blues notes.
Following the Civil War, black musicians began playing European music in military bands, developing new musical styles such as ragtime, which later transformed into jazz. Jazz has been one of the most influential styles in music to date, with a wide-ranging and profound influence over the development of music around the world. The earliest jazz greats included Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington.
The ‘50s saw a harder blues sound and the introduction of doo-wop. Berry Gordy founded Motown records in 1959 which catapulted black music to the forefront of the American music scene. In the ‘60s Motown introduced acts such as The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, and The Supremes.
The ‘70s saw an explosion of black artists in the music world with The Jackson 5, Roberta Flack, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, The O’Jays, and Gladys Knight & the Pip, all tearing up the music charts. As music evolved in the ‘70s hip-hop was born and made popular through artists like Kurtis Blow and Run-DMC, while George Clinton and Sly and the Family Stone introduced the world to some funky music.
Throughout the ‘80s, ‘90s, and today the African-American community of musicians grew with big names such as Michael Jackson, Prince, and Lionel Richie. During the ‘80s there was a wave of black female artists with Tina Turner, Mariah Carey, and Whitney Houston leading the way for future artists like Beyonce.
African-American music has had a profound influence on all genres of music through the years and will continue to evolve and influence generations of musicians for years to come.
Smokey Robinson was instrumental in the founding of Motown with Berry Gordy in 1959 and one of the most influential artists of his time. Smokey Robinson and The Miracles was the first act to sign on with Motown Records.
Robinson has over 4,000 songs to his credit and has been performing for over 50 years. He’s responsible for such hits as “Second that Emotion,” “You Really Got a Hold on Me,” “Ooh Baby Baby,” “Tears of a Clown” and “Tracks of My Tears.”
George Clinton is considered to be one of the most sampled musicians ever, and is one of the artists responsible for bringing the funky to funky music with his band the Parliament-Funkadelics. Dominating in the ‘70s with over 40 R&B hit singles, including three number ones and three platinum albums.
Clinton is also a notable music producer working on almost all of the albums he performs on, as well as producing albums for Bootsy Collins and Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others.
The Sounds of Success band, better known as SOS is fronted by Mary Davis. They were initially famous for the hit “Take Your Time (Do It Right)” in 1980. They had a string of R&B hits including “Just Be Good to Me,” “Tell Me If You Still Care,” “Borrowed Love,” “No One’s Gonna Love You,” “Just the Way You Like It” and “The Finest.”
SOS still tours today with founding members Mary Davis and Abdul Ra’oof. They are scheduled to perform on the BET Honor’s show scheduled for February 11, 2013. You can get a sneak preview of their performance here.
Kool & the Gang
Kool & the Gang started out as a jazz band, but through the years transformed themselves into one of the leaders in R&B and funk. Arguably their greatest albums were “Light of Worlds” and “Spirit of the Boogie” released in 1974 and 1975 respectively.
Kool & the Gang is responsible for such hits as “Joanna,” “Get Down on It,” “Ladies Night” and probably their most memorable and often played hit “Celebration.”
Leading the way for the rappers of today Kurtis Blow was the first rapper to ever be signed by a major label and is responsible for a number of hits by The Fat Boys and Run DMC. A few of his hits include “If I Ruled the World,” “Christmas Rappin’” and “The Breaks.”
Kurtis is a fully ordained minister and was an active participant in the Artists Against Apartheid record “Sun City”. He’s worked with Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Operation Push and the Rainbow Coalition in Chicago.
Morris Day started out in a band with classmate Prince, who, as everyone knows, left the band to pursue his own style of music. The Time, as the band was known didn’t do much in their early years. It wasn’t until the ‘80s when Day worked with Prince on the movie “Purple Rain.” Eventually The Time was billed as Morris Day and The Time.
Day played the antagonist to Prince in his feature films “Purple Rain” and “Graffiti Bridge,” helping establish Day’s playboy stage presence. He was typically escorted by his valet, “Jerome” (Jerome Benton), winning fans with his exaggerated vanity as he would yell “Jerome bring me my mirror!” This persona was exploited for comic effect on The Time’s records, on songs such as “Chili Sauce” and “If the Kid Can’t Make You Come” from the album Ice Cream Castle.
His greatest and most memorable hit was “Jungle Love.”
The multi-talented Brian McKnight is a singer-songwriter, arranger, producer, and R&B musician. He is also a multi-instrumentalist and can play eight instruments including piano, guitar, bass guitar, percussion, trombone, tuba, flugelhorn and trumpet.
McKnight signed on to Mercury Records and in 1992 released his self-titled debut album which peaked at 58 in the Billboard 200 chart. The album featured the ballad “One Last Cry”. He followed up with two more albums for Mercury with “I Remember You” and “Anytime”. “Anytime” sold over two million copies and was nominated for a Grammy.
When McKnight signed on to the Motown label he released his best-selling and most memorable album “Back at One.”
McKnight has the dubious distinction for a record 16 Grammy nominations without one win.
Gym Class Heroes
Gym Class Heroes formed in 1997 when Travie McCoy met drummer Matt McGinley during their high school gym class. The band’s style includes hip hop, rock, funk, and reggae infused with rap. Their debut album “The Papercut Chronicles” gained the band a strong fan base as they toured promoting the album at festivals such as The Bamboozle and Warped Tour.
Their album “As Cruel as School Children” spawned their hit singles “Cupid’s Chokehold,” reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and “Clothes Off!!” peaking at No. 5 in the United Kingdom.
Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. better known as Lil Wayne is a hip-hop artist and in 1991, at the age of nine, joined Cash Money Records as the youngest member of the label, and half of the duo, The B.G.’z, with fellow New Orleans-based rapper B.G.
Wayne’s debut studio album, “Tha Block Is Hot” was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His next albums, “Lights Out” and “500 Degreez”, were certified Gold.
In 2004 Wayne released the album “Tha Carter” which included the single “Go D.J.” which saw a surge in Wayne’s popularity. Continuing the success of “Tha Carter,” he released “Tha Carter II” in 2005.
“Tha Carter III” which was released in 2008 saw over one million copies sold in the first week, becoming Wayne’s most successful album to date. It included the number-one single “Lollipop”, as well as “A Milli” and “Got Money”, and won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.
William Leonard Roberts II, better known as Rick Ross, and sometimes referred to as Ricky Rozay, is one of the more controversial rappers of our time. He founded the record label Maybach Music Group (MMG), on which he released his studio albums “Deeper Than Rap,” “Teflon Don” and “God Forgives, I Don’t.”
In recent news Ross canceled the last leg of his tour (Dec. 2012), citing several reasons as to the cause of the cancelation, including lack of organization on the part of the promoter, and death threats. Gangster Disciples, a street gang that originated from the Chicago area, has been battling with Ross for some time and they’ve posted YouTube videos threatening the rapper.
In January of 2013 Ross crashed his Rolls Royce into a store after several shots were fired at his vehicle. No arrests have been made and no one was hurt in the drive-by.
I am extremely sad to report that Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, the colorful and flamboyant lead singer for the Ohio Players, died yesterday at the age of 70.
UPDATE: In an official family statement released by Scott Hanover the family said, “Yesterday, Leroy ‘Sugarfoot’ Bonner passed away quietly in his hometown of Trotwood-Dayton, OH. While his family, friends, colleagues, and fans mourn his passing they celebrate fondly his memory, music, and legacy.”
The statement continued, “Humble yet charismatic, soft spoken and of few words, the weight of his thoughts, lyrics, and music has influenced countless other artists, songs, and trends. He will be missed but not forgotten as his legacy and music lives on. More details and an official historical perspective of his career will soon be forthcoming.
His Facebook page is available to all to post comments, reflections, and testimonials of this wonderful and gifted man: https://www.facebook.com/sugarfootsohioplayers.”
The Ohio Players were originally formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1959, and were known as the Ohio Untouchables. After a brief breakup the band regrouped in 1963 adding Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner on lead guitar and eventually he went on to front the band.
The band’s first big hit single was “Funky Worm”, reaching #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and made the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1973, selling over one million copies.
The band had seven Top 40 hits between 1973 and 1976 including, “Fire,” “Love Rollercoaster” and “Who’d She Coo?”
Recently the master of funk brought the Ohio Players to Thunder Valley Casino Resort (read review). Sugarfoot was helped onstage and appeared frail. However, backstage he was jovial and very friendly to the staff and fans as they lined up to meet the ‘70s icon.
The band started around 10:30 p.m. and the crowd immediately responded by clapping and jumping to their feet, with a number of couples spilling into the aisles to dance.
The San Francisco Bay Area based band got their start in the late 60’s when founding members Emilio Castillo (tenor sax/vocals) and Stephen “Doc” Kupka got together. Joining the two founding members onstage were long standing members Francis “Rocco” Prestia (bass) and Dave Geribaldi (drums), along with Larry Braggs (lead vocals), Roger Smith (keyboards/vocals), Tom E. Politzer (lead tenor sax), Adolfo Acosta, (trumpet/flugelhorn), Jerry Cortez (guitar/vocals), and Sal Cracchiolo (trumpet).
Starting their set with “I Like Your Style” and “Ain’t Nothing Stopping Us Now,” the horn section is obviously the cornerstone of Tower of Power’s musical style, as Castillo, Doc, and Rocco started flexing their horns causing the audience to cheer even louder.
When TOP, as their fans refer to them, started playing their slower songs like “Just When We Start Making it” and “Me and Mrs. Jones,” droves of fans left their seats and headed to the aisles to slow dance.
As the New Year arrived, the band struck up “Auld Lang Syne,” as everyone donned their hats and noise makers (compliments of Thunder Valley), as hundreds of balloons started tumbling to the floor.
It was quite a sight to see, and hear, as some people popped balloons, while others were hitting them back up into the air.
Once things settled down, Tower of Power continued with “Young Man” and “Soul With a
Capital S,” leaving many of their fans wanting more.
Those with any energy left headed to the casino for their 1:30 a.m. drawing, where someone won a share of $25,000, including the grand prize of $10,000.
Tower of Power still has a lot of energy left after all these years. Couple the two founding members with the younger members of the band and they still have a recipe for success.
I Like Your Style
Ain’t Nothing Stopping Us Now
Oil in the Ground
Can’t You See
Come Back Baby
Just When We Start Making it
Maybe It’ll Rub Off
So I Got to Groove
Me and Mrs. Jones
Jame Brown Medley of songs
Hard to Go
Auld Lang Syne
What is Hip
Soul With a Capital S
This was a stripped down version of his regular show, although this format is becoming his regular show. In 2011, McKnight set out to let America get to know more about him as he embarked on his Just Me Tour, which included his brother’s band, Take 6. During the show McKnight reflects on growing up and provides anecdotal information about his songs and life.
This being the stripped down version, it was completely solo with only McKnight playing a grand piano, guitar, or keyboards.
As the show began, the lights dimmed and the stage was deserted as a signal spotlight lit up the piano. Off stage McKnight started singing “Should’ve Been Loving You,” slowly working his way center stage, making for a very dramatic entrance.
After following up with “Home,” McKnight went on to explain the format of his show saying, “I write these songs, but I produce them too, and sometimes you got to produce them to be on the radio, and I don’t necessarily get to perform them the way I want to, so tonight, I’m going to give you the music the way I want to.”
McKnight continued with a medley of songs of people who most influenced him in his early years, including Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E,” Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin,” and Jeffrey Osborne’s “On the Wings of Love.”
Working just the right amount of humor into his show, McKnight explained why he doesn’t serenade his “ladies.” Because his mother warned him about using his god given talents for his own personal purposes, and God will take those talents away, referencing erectile dysfunction commercials. That’s when he asked audience member Elsa Greco to come up on stage so he could serenade her with “Crazy Love,” as he played guitar.
This was pretty much an unplugged set, at least until his last song “Fall 5.0” when he played to a soundtrack. “Fall 5.0″ is off his new album due to be released in February.
The format just didn’t work for the testosterone laden guys in the audience, but it did work for all the ladies who were captivated by McKnight’s good looks and his smooth vocals as he belted out one love song after another.
For those fans of McKnight in the ‘90s and who have not kept up with his music, they were ultimately disappointed due to the unplugged format. At times it was difficult to determine what song he was singing.
As one of those testosterone laden guys, I’d rather have seen more standup comic routines from McKnight.
Should’ve Been Loving You
The Only One for Me
Medley “L-O-V-E,” “I Keep Forgetting,” “On the Wings of Love,” “Overjoyed,’’ “A House is Not a Home,’’ “Rock With You”
Can You Read My Mind
6, 8, 12
Find Myself in You
Let Me Love You
Still in Love
Do I Ever Cross Your Mind
You’re Like a Dream Come True
Back at One
One Last Cry
Sleep Train Arena turned into a haven for pot smokers as Wiz Khalifa and his band of recording artists, under the record label Taylor Gang, brought throngs of fans to the arena formerly known as Power Balance Pavilion Sunday night.
Wiz Khalifa and Taylor Gang 2050 World Tour is in support of Khalifa’s latest album O.N.I.F.C.
Car alarms could be heard going off on a regular basis, as a large number of “pre-drinkers” and pot smokers were hanging out in the parking lot prior to the show.
While fans were filing into the arena, a thick cloud of smoke could be seen rising above the sold-out crowd. Wheezing was the watch word because as the crowd grew, so did the cloud.
As Fans pushed and shoved their way to the front, security was having to extract people who had bitten off a bit more than they could chew. There were a couple of instances where people were being pulled out of the crowd after they had lost consciousness. In fact, one fan had to have only been 10 or 11 years old.
These concerts are not for the faint of heart, and not the type of event parents should be dropping off their kids so they can have a nice quiet dinner alone. I was shocked to see so many young kids.
The audience was into the show from the start as Tuki Carter took the stage followed by Berner and Lola Monroe, each playing about 10 or 15 minutes. The short sets didn’t hamper their efforts to get the crowd excited as each came out and gave it their all.
Chevy Woods and Juicy J both performed for about 30 minutes each, followed by Khalifa who performed for over an hour.
It was quite a night with almost the entire audience smoking freely while girls were being invited up onstage to “party.” At times it was hard to tell where the smoke was coming from, smoke machines or the hundreds of joints being lit up throughout the arena.
Just prior to Khalifa coming out onstage, it was obvious a few fans saved the best for last, as they were holding on to finger sized joints with lighters at the ready.
It was a smoking good concert!
Thunder Valley Casino Resort along with World One Presents, Maita Honda, and local radio station V101.1, brought Naughty by Nature, the Sugar Hill Gang, and Kool Moe Dee to Thunder Valley’s Pano Hall for a hip hopping Halloween Friday night. Emcee for the night was V101′s Big Al.
A number of fans dressed up for what turned out to be an awesome show as Bay Area artists Rory and Reed opened the show with a brief 10 minute set.
The crowd went crazy when Kool Moe Dee took the stage. Moe Dee brought along Special K and L.A. Sunshine as they sang hits like “They Want Money,” “Rise & Shine,” and of course “Wild, Wild, West.”
By the time Sugar Hill Gang took the stage the crowd was in full party mode with most fans gathering around the catwalk and dance floors.
Sugar Hill Gang consisted of original band members Wonder Mike, Master Gee, and Big Bank Hank. Keeping the audience completely engaged with their past hits “Apache,” “Eighth Wonder,” and “Rapper Reprise,” they seemed to just be hitting their stride when they finished their set.
As Naughty by Nature stormed the stage the crowd went wild as they all started bouncing up and down to the beat of the music. Original band members Treach, Vin Rock, and DJ Kay Gee, put on a great performance as they played “Everything’s Gonna be All Right,“ “O.P.P.,” and “Hip Hop Hooray.”
What do you get when you mix a bombastic blonde with a quirky group of men? Some might say an odd mix of new and old as Blondie and Devo rollout their Whip It to Shreds Tour, bringing with them some newer material.
With only 13 dates scheduled in the Whip It to Shreds Tour, Sunrise Marketplace was lucky to land the unlikely duo for the last night of the Sunrise at Night Concert Series on Friday.
Over thirty years ago both Blondie and Devo were household names in the music world, as MTV was ramping up to play a steady stream of music videos, California had an actor as Governor, and Madonna was a piece of art, not a piece of work.
Ahh, so much has changed since then, just ask a teenager who Blondie or Devo is. You’ll get one of those looks that make you feel older than dirt – trust me I’ve seen that look.
Neither group is standing on their laurels either as both are out promoting their new work. Blondie with her latest album Panic of Girls and Devo with their album Something for Everybody. Both albums have respectable reviews, but could they possibly invoke trips down memory lane as some of their hits do? Songs like Blondie’s disco-infused “Heart of Glass,” and Devo’s wildly popular “Whip It?” I think not.
Devo started out as a twenty something group of nerdy guys and have “devolved” into a sixty something group of nerdy guys. The weirdest part for me was these guys were awesome! Their sound, their message, their style, played well in the 70’s and 80’s, and it plays well in the 10’s (I guess that’s what you call the 2010’s).
With brothers Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh, and Gerald and Bob Casale, all original band members, Devo kicked off their set with “Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man)” and “Peek-A-Boo!”, wearing plastic masks in what looked like some type of uniform.
During their set they played three songs off their latest album “Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man),” “What We Do,” and “Fresh.” The rest of their songs were their oldies, but goodies.
As is normal for this quirky group of guys, there were numerous wardrobe changes, plenty of videos playing in the background and even popcorn flying through the air. “Whip It” found the group wearing their signature hats as fans went crazy.
After a brief set-change Blondie made their way on stage as original lead singer Deborah Harry came out singing “Dreaming” and “Hanging on the Telephone.” Deborah sounded good and the audience gave her a warm welcome, but I believe they made a fatal mistake, as do most aging bands. They played too many newer songs, losing the audience.
As Blondie continued with “Love Doesn’t Frighten Me” and “D-Day,” both songs from their latest album, the crowd settled down. However, whenever they started in with an old hit like “Call Me,” the crowd would go wild, only to settle back down while the continued on to a new song. They played a total of six new songs, one from 2003, and five from 2011, all unfamiliar to the crowd.
Her encore won the audience back as she closed with “Relax” and “Heart of Glass.”
In my opinion Devo was the better performance with their quirky style. I’m surprised that I’m saying this, but I think Devo should have been the headliner, or close the show, as their tour is being billed as “co-headlining.” In the end Blondie played too many newer songs, while Devo, for the most part, stuck to the sounds that got them where they are today.
This show concludes the Sunrise at Night Concert Series at Sunrise MarketPlace. It all started when Sunrise started to host the Sacramento Capitals and erected a small arena, so the powers to be decided to, dare I say capitalize, on having arena by turning it into an outdoor concert venue.
The Series brought over 10,000 people to Sunrise Marketplace, with 7,000 concert goers coming from outside the area. These were people who normally would not have made the effort to visit the area.
Many of the visitors who had not been to Sunrise Marketplace in quite some time were surprised and impressed with the number of changes to the area. Merchants also saw in increase in sales with close to 50% of attendees visiting and patronizing their favorite stores.
While the concert series got off to a slow start it gained momentum as the season unfolded, ending with full house for their final concert.
Look for an even more exciting concert series next season!