Tuesday, May 22, 2012

iStan: a Bilal appreciation post

There are a handful of artists that I absolutely stan for. I will buy anything they release without having heard a single note and attend every show that comes my way no matter how many times I’ve seen them live. I will also side-eye you to death for speaking negatively of them in my presence. Yes, I stan hard and you should know better. 

Just in case you didn’t know, here is my stan list (in no particular order): 

1. Erykah Badu
2. Radiohead
3. Beyoncé
4. Raphael Saadiq
5. Outkast
6. Bilal
7. Kelis

Damn, am I a hippie? O_o Moving right along… 

Today, we’re going to talk about my main man #6, the great weirdo extraordinaire, Bilal Oliver. 

I saw him perform Saturday at my new favorite concert venue, the legendary Howard Theatre. http://thehowardtheatre.com/ I have seen this man perform more times than I can remember and Saturday’s show ranks at the top. It was incredible. I literally had to refrain from hitting a good ol’ church two step shout  many a time during the show. (I hope y’all don’t think I’m playing because I’m SO sincere.) 

They were kicking people out for taking pictures and recording, so I don’t have any footage for y’all. Just take my word for it. It was seriously on another level. The first time I saw Bilal perform, I felt like my whole soul had opened up. It was an eerie but delightful feeling that I couldn’t shake for the rest of the night. Until Saturday, I hadn’t been able to achieve the same high of my first Bilal experience. (I sound like a crackhead, don’t I? That’s fine. Stop judging me!) 

Why do I love him so? First of all, that voice! My goodness, Bilal’s voice is getting better with time! That pitch perfect falsetto was surely sent from on high. There’s not another voice like his in the game, now or ever. It’s amazing. 

Also, he’s freaking FEARLESS. He’s not afraid to take risks with his music or his voice and I love him for it. His sound is ever evolving and always a breath of fresh air for me. 

Lastly, you don’t get much realer than Bilal. Songs like “Sometimes” and “All For Love” hit you straight in the gut. There’s an authenticity in every note that is as rare as a white truffle. Bilal’s music truly reaches inside and grabs my entire soul and this is why I stan. 

Highlights of the show:

1. A bad ass impromptu tribute to Chuck Brown. Bilal sang “Love It” while his percussionists hit a Go-go beat. It was awesome.

2. Bilal scatting his life away segueing into “Sometimes.”

3. Bilal saying, “I usually don’t do shows when I’m trying to make up shit. They had to come get me out the dungeon!” NEW MUSIC ON THE WAY! *ecstatically jigs* 

If you’re unfamiliar or unsure, take a listen. The man is undeniable. 

Think It Over (Acoustic): 

My all-time fave, All For Love:

Is This Love (Bob Marley cover) - Yes, he is conducting and singing at the same damn time!

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