Review by Bob Davis, www.soul-patrol.com
“If the bump ain’t crunk,
if the funk ain’t pumpin’
with the thump in the trunk,
then the bump ain’t bumpin’
You just gotta Leave It Alone, Leave It Alone!”
As a few of you know, I have been really, really busy of late. In fact I have been so busy that I haven’t been able to get out and see many shows in 2008. This may well be the only show that I see in 2008. (sike….I’ll be seeing Ryan Shaw this week in NYC).
I haven’t been able to even find the time till now, to write this review of Nadir’s show.
But here it is and let me start out by saying that if this were going to be the only live show that I saw in 2008, I would be alright with that. Nadir put on an outstanding show, but more importantly he proved to me that he has a rare quality in a modern artist, in that he is able to also overcome “adversity.”
I am an unabashed fan of Nadir’s music and have been since I first heard his award winning 2005 album entitled Distorted Soul 2.0. Not only is Distorted Soul 2.0 one of the FUNKIEST albums of the decade (and therefore the century), it is a “throwback.” This album is a “throwback” because unlike most albums produced in “post 9-11 amerikkka” it actually has something to say about the past, present and future of our society.
Therefore it’s no surprise that Nadir is also the Michigan State representative for MTV’s Street Team ’08, where he serves as one of MTV’s 2008 Presidential Election reporters. (hell yeah, this is a brotha we need to be proud of!!!!)
I strongly advise you to go to Nadir’s site: www.distortedsoul.com and check out what he’s got to offer. It’s music +” and as badd as Nadir’s music is, it’s the “+” that is indeed the key…
I arrived at the BAM Cafe (www.bam.org) early because I had told Nadir that I would be there for the sound check and sure enough he was in the lobby accompanied by his backup musicians for the evening. As I greeted Nadir, I also greeted the members of the local NYC based Funk/Rock band called Rhythm Republik. I know Rhythm Republik and their music quite well, they are an “average” band and this was the first level of adversity for Nadir to overcome.
Soon we were greeted by “Clark Kent” (aka Darrell McNeill) who was in his alter ego as the “curator” of the BAM Cafe and he took us up to the BAM Cafe, for the sound check. As I watched the sound check, clearly Nadir was the man in charge, as he took Rhythm Republik thru snippets of the songs in the set in an organized and methodical fashion, to insure that they knew the songs. You could see that Nadir was going to make Rhythm Republik rise to the occasion and they did.
Soon the crowd started to fill up the empty space and several hundred people came in, most of whom were white (more adversity for Nadir to overcome).
Soon the show started and I was joined at my table by PJ from Brown Eyez Magazine (www.browneyezmag.com) and one of her associates. PJ like me had also seen Nadir perform at the 2007 Soul-Patrol Convention in Philadelphia and wanted to see him do a full set in New York.
Once the show started, I could see that indeed Rhythm Republik wasn’t going to be an issue. And in my opinion, Rhythm Republik did a good job.
You see, I know Nadir’s songs like perhaps nobody else does (see I’m a real fan…lol). I know the words and the beats by heart, that’s because he is an artist in the truest sense of that word, with topical lyrics that are right on time for 2008.
Don’t believe me, check the set list for the show…
Good To Your Earhole
The Low Road
Life In The Fast Lane
Is That What You Wanted?
Queen of Sheba
Workin 4 Tha Man
Leave It Alone
As you can see from the titles, some of these songs have lyrics that are intensely political (actually incendiary is a better word…..lol) and are designed to raise the consciousness of the listener and in fact challenge the listener to “do better.” And given the nature of the crowd I was a bit concerned, that perhaps they might not be into it.
I couldn’t have been more wrong, because I was about to get the surprise of the night…
::::THE SHOWMANSHIP OF NADIR::::::
He had the 96 percent white crowd eating out of his hands, using “1960’s Apollo Stage Banter” and easily winning the crowd over during the middle portion of the show…
Starting with the rock”power ballad” called the LOW ROAD (which also appears on the Soul-Patrol Digital/Virtual Album), it was as if Nadir grabbed the crowd by their chairs and brought them closer to him, as if to say “it’s ok to have fun”. Next up, he made them feel even more comfortable with a FUNKED UP version of the Eagles 1970’s classic “LIFE IN THE FAST LANE”. This set the stage for the gut wrenching “SLAVE” (which actually transports us back to slavery times) and the SUPER HELLIFIED & EROTIC song called “SANCTIFIED” (during which Nadir almost caused a white woman in the audience to nearly faint…lol). I took a deep breath and smiled, because Rhythm Republik was actually doing a decent job of keeping up with all of this. Then Nadir slowed things down with “GUANTANAMO”, a song about the US military installation in Cuba, currently being used as a prison (torture) camp by the United States government.
Nadir ended his set (after a few stage management issues) in a most entertaining manner with the ULTRA PHUNKY JOINT called “LEAVE IT ALONE”.
He cleverly demonstrated his showmanship by challenging the audience to recite the lyrics (which are listed at the top of this review and are quite a tongue twister if you try to say them 3 times fast…lol). This of course left the crowd smiling and well primed to absorb the MONSTER FUNK of the song itself. The show ended to a thunderous applause and I have little doubt that if there had been voting machines placed in the BAM Cafe, that Nadir could have been elected President, right on the spot!!!
The show ended and I would say that Nadir is primed for a return engagement to bring his very special brand of “EDutainment” back to the Big Apple.
I mean, Nadir is soooo completely out of step with the times…
– He plays FUNK music (and ain’t ashamed of it)
– He writes passionate songs about the human condition
– He educates as he entertains
– He’s a TV star
– He uses showmanship from the chitlin circuit days to capture and captivate a live audience
– Is talented enough to make up for any issues that might occur during a live show
– He actually knows how to use the internet
– He’s got an “interracial” audience
Perhaps the “times” are about to catch up to Nadir…
March 9, 2008