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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Keb' Mo' at the Intersection March 23

Keb’ Mo’ is one who wants to know that people leaving his show are in a better state of mind than when they arrived. A good blues man is adept at easing the worried brow of those seeking his humble note and word. If entertainer Kevin Moore has any say in it, you’ll soon be feeling some much needed clarity. This may be the only chance you see today for really getting outside yourself. By looking at life in the here and now, with a clearer mind perhaps, you’ll start to feel hope about your present station-in-life situation. “My hope is that people have an uplifting time,” Keb’ Mo’ said. “When that happens you feel different. When you feel different you think differently. When you think differently, you let go of whatever it is you have.” Mo' is not interested in directly addressing the prosperity of anyone. But believe it or not he’s just like you and me when it comes to acquiring an answer. “When I have a place where I need to grow and I have a situation in front of me, the more present I am the better I can think through challenges. There is a solution to the problems we have.”

Keb' Mo' is all about living in the present. He comes by it honestly, let’s say. “My career has been a series of little jobs,” Mo' said. “My next job is always based upon my performance the night before. If I do good, I get another job.” He says he learned long ago he prefers the right now equilibrium. “There’s no past, there’s no future, just right now walking onstage. There are no guarantees. Maybe someone will be affected by one of my songs and seek out another one. Maybe another musician will hear a song and want to do it themselves.” 

As a songwriter Keb' Mo' tunes have been recorded by a myriad of artists. His sentiment-laden songs will turn you inside out every time. “The Beginning” opens and closes with the hope—there’s that word again—that the end is merely a starting point. “I co-wrote that song with Bobby McFerrin,” Mo' said. “It’s about trust. Trusting what comes to your consciousness and believing that you can shape it the best you can.” 

For twenty years Grammy-winner Keb’ Mo' has been providing avenues to destinations inward and exit lanes to your outside world. Above all he'd like nothing more than for you to have fun at one of his shows. Acoustic set or not, Keb' wants those so inclined to get out there and grab a piece of the aisle and have fun. Be looking for when he gets out the slide and reaches for the National Resorocket. Then you’ll know for sure you’re where you need to be.  

Keb' Mo' solo acoustic, Saturday March 23 at the Intersection. 7 pm. 

The Venue: sectionlive.com/


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin' Altar Boys March 22 at the Tip Top

With that unmistakable evangelical flair the Reverend Raven gathers his followers in the dark of night. Go, he says, to the next open clearing and wait for me there. The Reverend’s flock ritualistically heads for the nearest dance floor. Once assembled the charismatic Reverend reveals his timeless message: you shall dance and enjoy yourselves whilst in my midst. Grand Rapids is in store for this and other divine edicts when Milwaukee-based Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys return Friday March 22 to the Tip Top.

“My set is blues music except there’s more dancing,” The Reverend said. “The idea is to try to keep a bar full of people entertained.” Raven says that his sound is charged with 60s-70s Chicago blues grooves, one of which is the revered Elmore James boogie.

RRCSAB is known as a working band who tour constantly. Raven admits they don’t always hit a home run every time at bat. There are those occasions when they get booked into a sports bar by mistake. But more often than not, as they say, the basket looks twice as big most nights and they cannot miss. “It’s all about living for that one moment,” Raven said. “The beauty of it is you don’t know where it’s going to happen. It can happen and at the Tip Top; it can happen at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago. It’s a combination of a good crowd, the band sounds right, and you’ve had a good night’s sleep; plus all the equipment is working. Pretty soon the energy between the band and the crowd is feeding back and forth.”  
If people still aren’t dancing in the time frame set down by the Reverend, he seeks some kind of intervention from his longtime piano player Danny Moore. Moore has played with Loretta Lynn and Willie Nelson and fronts his own rockabilly band on the side. Forget about the guitar rumba for a minute and let the tinkling, rollicking piano through. Woe the nonbelievers if they fail the Reverend's call now for he will be forced to brandish the slide guitar in what he calls the fire and brimstone Hound Dog Taylor set. “Younger people, students, really like that stuff,” Raven said. “It gets them going. I know my kids like it.” The key to salvation, according to the Reverend Raven, is getting that certain demographic on the dance floor first. After that his work is done. “Early on we focus on getting the ladies up moving. When that happens we’ve got it made."

Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin' Altar Boys March 22 at the Tip Top Deluxe. $10. 8 pm doors, 9 show. 

Advance tickets: http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=3372144&pl=tiptop

More info on the Rev: http://www.reverendraven.com/