Friday, March 4, 2011

Me’shell Ndegeocello at Largo

So last night I went to see Me’shell Ndegeocello at Largo at The Coronet on La Cienega, and she was fantastic. 

Not only was she fantastic, but every member of the band – Keith on keys, Chris Bruce on no less than three guitars, the amazing vocalist (who is currently being produced by Bruce), and the crazy guy on drums were also absolutely incredible. The intimate stage was beautifully low key and from my (front-row!) seat, Me’shell could have been performing in my living room. Every pause, mistake and comment was filled with the cheers of the adoring crowd. The hour and a half set sped by, and was met with four minutes of applause for an encore, which was casually granted. The set included both old and new tracks, which is fairly unusual as she is known for being hesitant at playing her old stuff, but I couldn’t bare to see her without hearing ‘Who is He and What is He to You’. I was not disappointed.

Born in Berlin, Germany and raised in Washington, D.C, Ndegeocello is a multi-disciplinary artist, being renowned as a bassist as well as a singer-songwriter and rapper. The beginning of the neo-soul movement is often credited to Ndegeocello whose music incorporates, soul, funk, jazz, hip hop, R&B and reggae and has been nominated for no less than ten Grammy’s. Her music has received acclaim from all corners of the entertainment business, featuring in a number of motion pictures including Jerry Maguire, Talk to Her and Batman & Robin, appearing on the soundtracks of many other major artists (The Rolling Stones, Indigo Girls) as a bassist and vocalist and featuring as Starbucks iTunes pick of the week in 2010 with Tie One On’. She has released eight albums, the most recent being Devil’s Halo, in 2009.

I left Largo with my soul beautifully fed for a good long while. The chilled out vibe of the place, with the band coming out and drinking with their friends, fans and family and chatting away seems to me to break through all the socially constructed distances we so often put between ourselves and artists. The godlike status we hide them behind is surely not pleasant for us or them. They are still ordinary people. They are extraordinarily talented, yes, and many put their flow of creative prowess down to the influence or inspiration of a higher power. Yet as Erykah Badu puts it on her live album “No matter what anybody ever thinks, I still get cold when its cold, hungry when I’m hungry, miss my mamma when we’re away. I get tired, I’m a person.” Being an artist myself, one of my favorite parts of performing is that moment after a show. Standing by the doors exiting the dressing rooms and tasting the crowd out there, that moment tells me what kind of show I just did. Whether they liked it, hated it, were moved, were impassioned, then I go out to meet it, become a part of it. That’s the most humbling, constructive, satisfying moment for me. We realise that we would be nowhere without our audiences, just as these articles would be nothing without their readers, and we are all, as Ndegeocello finished her set with last night “Grateful.”

And I thought, ‘the pleasure really is all ours.’

Ama J. Budge
Special Correspondent  

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