Thanks to Seamus McGrann, The Hampton History Museum has been hosting a broad array of weeknight concerts called The Front Porch Music Series for about a year now. Although the museum may seem an unlikely venue for concerts and shows, the "Great Hall" is a refreshing change of pace from your typical downtown Hampton bar shows (although there are typically food and drinks available from vendors). The acoustics are great, the room is clean and cozy, there is a raised stage, and there are typically chairs covering the floor for those who have had a long day at work.
On February 19, the featured performer was The Traprock Misfit. This is the alter-ego stage persona of the local hip-hop/soul sensation K'bana Blaq. Besides "Traprock" and his solo act in which he goes simply by K'bana Blaq, he also fronts the long-running soul/groove ensemble The Fuzz Band (perhaps known most for their "Fuzzy Wednesdays" open mic that has been going for years). Blaq doesn't have a day job. Music is his career and he is constantly taking it to the next level. His video for the song "I Get's It In Like Rockstar" recently won the Veer Music Award for video of the year (and defeated Uglyography's humble nomination for our song "Hookey"). Blaq's six minute video is good stuff and could easily stand beside videos on MTV, back when MTV played videos.
Unfortunately I missed Traprock Misfit's first set and arrived at intermission. Reportedly, what I missed was quite an entertaining journey, as it included performances by The Community Spirit Vocal Ensemble and told the story of the beginnings of rhythm and blues music and how it transformed and shaped its way permanently into modern culture. I was bummed to have missed it.
But the second set delivered the goods over about 40 minutes. The performers were Blaq along with a DJ and a pianist, and they began with two very dramatic soulful ballads that were penned by K'bana himself. I immediately recalled Stevie Wonder melodies and vocal wails akin to something off Talking Book. The singer took ownership of the stage and the audience, and took turns between standing up and sitting in a chair depending on what the current lines of the song were meant to convey. It was probably the most dramatic thing the History Museum has ever seen or heard. After the ballads, the DJ did a great job of mixing up some well known soul-rock melodies from the 60's and 70's while Blaq began showing us some pretty darn slick dance moves and singing along with the hits. It didn't take long before the audience was up out of their own seats and shaking their booties at the leadership of The Traprock Misfit. The set didn't lose steam (even though a couple more ballads were thrown in) and ended with a cover of Blaq's #1 favorite artist, Prince. Let's Go Crazy was an appropriate finale and left the audience feeling hyped and happy they were there.
Sam McDonald of The Daily Press was there for the entire show and created a fantastic video summary of the show that you can check out here. Thanks Sam!
Check out the Music:
K'bana Blaq: https://myspace.com/blaqfever
Check out the History Museum: http://www.hampton.gov/index.aspx?NID=119