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Saturday, August 23, 2014

AfroPunkFest 2014 & Spike Lee MJ Party

(above: Alice Smith mid set on Saturday Aug 23, 2014 at Afro Punk Festival, Commodore Barry Park, Bklyn)

AfroPunk 2014 music art food culture ere in Downtown/Fort Greene Brooklyn and i'm here.

5:15p Alice Smith at the Green Stage literally brought the sun out with her voice and energy.

Amazing set, Alice gave that no nonsense sweet sweet fierce fierce love to the crowd, her inspirations and even had a little left over for the soundman.

Lianne La Havas, brit born, Jamaican/Greek descended chartreuse/muse followed a Beverly Bond DJ set, and proceeded to cause a Brooklyn swoon the likes of which many are still happily unrecovered from. 

Throughout the crowd I heard as many people singing La Havas lyrics as there were remarking about how perfectly darling she is. Its true Lianne's songs have the quality of a young woman who's in the effort of finding love has had heart tarnished and uses the experience to burnish out songs which when delivered in her range from primal scream to often audible whisper, melt the heart.

It's a perfect bit of scheduling that Valerie June (whom I just caught before her set ended) Lianne La Havas & Alice Smith, played a processional lead toward Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, because each of the three musicans present a facet of young womanhood. Valerie's rockabilly strunging and "aw shucks-esque" sing cleverly ensconce a Valerie's  woman who will not be taking shit now or later. Lianne is romantic optimist, going mind and heart wide open into the romantic abyss, and Alice is lightning a potential lover hopes to catch and worries my fry them. 

If you'll allow me to wrap these three musicans into a loosely fitting metaphor, here goes, Alice Smith is Id, Lianne the Ego and Valerie's the Super Ego. Granted each has songs in which they play all and none of those roles, but on stage thats what the viberation I hear.

Alice Smith is a force of nature unapologetically contained in the body of an electrifying young woman. When Alice's label lacked the vision of her second album, the Grammy nominated artist went to her crowds and funded "SHE" her second album which has produced more of the high voltage, piognant and true songs of Alice's heart as mind, laid bare, that make her a musical pleasure to be transfixed by.

The stellar end to the 1st night of Afro Punk at the green stage was aptly presided over by the one and only Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. If you've ever been in a church service, if you've ever been to a racuous party, or had the pleasure of both in one, you'll have a slight idea of what heaven on Earth  Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings unfurled in Commodore Barry Park at Afro Punk 2014. Sharon was  minister preacher in full in one sequence sharing with the congregation her personal struggles and uncertainties after illness, "I didn't know if I would make it, I had no hair, no eyebrow hair no nostril hair, I didn't know if I would be anywhere.." in another moment renegotiating the playlists into a satisfying melody of their decade longer career songs. The movement of souls was visible, a funk more fortified than the sess tinged air, churning up the clouds as their musical chariot descended, like the revival jams of 100 Days, 100 Nights and eons of horny bass all rolled in to one, knocking the often unknowingly sanctifying crowd flat dead and bringing us back to life. Thats how Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings closed night one of Afro Punk 2014 on the green stage.

Today acts ranging from the nearly brad new life of "Unlocking the Truth" (who at aged 13 swiped the title of youngest festival group  from The Bots) to stalwarts of punk, ska & rock, Fishbone, who can always be counted on for a memoral show, will hit the Afro Punk stages, along with dynamic and diverse acts including Tamar-Kali, SZA, The Internet, Cro-Mags, the legenday Michell Ndegeocello, and culminating with a festival ending set by D'Angelo. So you've been told.

In a true challenge to musical loyalty and geographic possibilty at today is also the Spike Lee presented Michael Jackson party in Bedford-Stuyvesant at historical mixed media venue Restoration Plaza from 12noon to 6p Dj Spinna will be controlling the decks an spinning straight MJ and Jackson and or Jacksons inspired track just as Spinna does at hos annual MJ and MJ vs Prince parties around the country.

Cell service at these events tends to be spotty which I dont know whether to blame on infrastructure, or crowd control, but that is the case so I'll be uploading pics tomorrow as well as some choice video.

Fyi if youre a straight R&B type, the Mj Party ends at 6 as D'Angelo starts at Afro Punk at 8:30 so that C train (Kingston Av to Lafayette, followed  by a walk north on Ashland) might have your name on it

All Free. That's what's up Brooklyn, USA. 

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