April 21, 2009
It was Friday night and I was standing in line outside of Platinum of Birmingham waiting with everyone else to get inside. Just to hang out, listen to some music, drink a little bit, and take in the sights. I didn’t know what to expect but it was Friday night in Birmingham and there’s not much else to do on a Friday night in Birmingham. Upon my arrival at the door I was disappointed to learn that what I had spent what seemed like an eternity in line for was a concert from some so called rap artist that I didn’t care to see in any setting and that they were also charging three times normal admission for the show! I promptly left and went off to discover something else to entertain me. I once wrote about wanting to leave Birmingham because of the city’s lack of investment in the arts. I was frustrated with radio stations and the unwillingness of management to play or promote the kind of music/artists that I wanted to hear and that I couldn’t turn on a station without hearing a ‘Put Yo Hood Up‘ or ‘Tear The Club Up.’ I also stopped going out because I was getting bored with DJ’s playing the same songs over and over like they were hitting repeat on a compilation called ‘Ignant Rap Tracks.’ I was done and resigned myself to believe that the Magic City would never catch on with the movement that had been gaining momentum around the world.
It was Friday night and I was standing in line outside the Platinum of Birmingham waiting with everyone else to get inside. Just to hang out, listen to some music, drink a little bit, and take in the sights. I didn’t know what to expect but I knew this Friday night was different, there was an obvious change in the air. No one was waiting to swing elbows and represent hoods with finger puppetry. No one was there with the intentions of tearing up the club or acting a fool. We were there to celebrate the movement, the new soul movement that has slowly been spreading into the city, and this past Friday after 10 years, I finally reentered the Platinum of Birmingham to see Algebra and Dwele in concert.
I’m going to admit up front that I wasn’t familiar with Algebra’s music prior to the show, but once I witnessed her act on stage I became a big fan. Her music is beautiful and it was clear to me that she was the main attraction and not the opening act of this show. Starting off high energy with’U Do It For Me‘ the crowd erupted in overwhelming applause and fanfare, singing along and vibin’ with her. Maybe it’s her southern roots by way of ATL or her lyrics which are undeniably soul without being boxed into Neo. Whatever it was, it was obvious to that the crowd was definitely connected to her, even demanding her to sing personally to them and I can’t blame them. During a heartfelt rendition of ‘What Happened‘ we were mesmerized; intently focused and entranced by her words. With an amazing voice and songs that don’t require deep analysis to understand, she is definitely a one of a kind talent. Algebra’s stage presence is amazing; don’t let her small frame fool you because this girl is a powerhouse, she completely owned the stage and the crowd as well. I especially enjoyed the segment where she introduced her band which allowed the DJ to showcase some dope mixing skill that got the place even more pumped up. I feel bad for sleeping for so long, but I’m glad that I woke up, and I must admit that just like the slogan on the shirt says. ‘I Love Algebra,’ too!!!
Next it was time for Dwele to get down and I was mildly disappointed at how much the crowd on the floor had thinned down. But being a big Dwele fan since the days of Dilla I was excited to finally get to see him live, even more because I didn’t have to travel to see it. His set was a shorter than his female counterpart but he managed to get in a good amount of songs. Singing some old favorites like ‘Find A Way‘ and ‘The Truth‘ it was me that was singing along this time, not that there’s anything wrong with that, HA! Accompanied by backup singers and a full band Dwele was right at home here. Adding some local talent to the mix, hometown favorite Kerry “2 Smooth” Marshall on guitar, was a big hit. Dwele also showcased his skill on the keys, hopping on the boards and playing a tune for the house while his band grooved with him. Dwele’s performance style and stage presence is a little laid back. You could really hear and feel the lyrics which added to their depth. I especially liked his performance of his new joint ‘How Do I Deal‘ (Waiting For Obama) which from my understanding came about from just messing around at the crib. The man just accidentally makes good music! He was definitely a hit, and I would love to see what he can do with a larger venue and more time to perform.
Overall the concert was a success and I was impressed with how much has changed with the POB and the overwhelming amount of people that were there to enjoy the show. It had been almost 10 years since I been at the Platinum of Birmingham and after 10 years they finally brought me back. Better late than never I suppose, Happy Anniversary! My homegirl Dionne posted on Facebook that night “I hope Birmingham realizes that after tonight, they can no longer cater to the Knuck If You Buck crowd.” Well I second that, and I think that after that show and the energy in the building that the Magic City finally has. We still have a long way to go but we’re going; It’s a beautiful thing. The soul movement is going strong and it can’t be stopped. Welcome to Birmingham.