By Dashaun Simmons
It’s been 3 years since Philly’s own Musiq Soulchild released an album. As one of the few survivors of the “Neo Soul” movement Musiq holds a special position in the current music scene. His name alone is a reminder of a time when headwraps were in and Russell Simmons was investing in poetry. However, thanks to Musiq’s ability to adjust with the times and constantly produce good songs he’s performing his new album “MusiqInTheMajiq” for a packed Highline Ballroom audience.
Musiq takes this assembly of casual fans, record label reps and other industry insiders on a journey through heartache and relationships. This show is built on a conversation, which in this case happens to be one sided. Musiq talks in between songs setting up the content for those who have yet to hear his new record. There is nothing here that the average R&B fan hasn’t heard before. One new song “Be Friends” deals with the all too familiar subject of a changing relationship between two lovers. “Medicine” has Musiq performing over the type of head-snapping production he’s been known to use. At one point he toys with his hard core fans starting headfirst into the hit “LOVE” only to pull out immediately thinking out loud “Who gets this far singing soul music nowadays? Where they do that at?” When he finally does perform the song, cell phones go up to record the moment. Musiq uses a well placed high note to draw the crowd in and cap off the song.
Other older songs like “So Beautiful” are performed perfectly with the band staying in pocket and talented back up singers. “B.U.D.D.Y” gets folks to start doing the wop to the “Heartbeat” sample. Rapper Consequence jumps on stage to assist rocking the crowd for this Native Tongue throwback song. Musiq finishes up the show with “Anything” and leaves on a high note. The show at an hour and a half seemed short and for a moment some fans thought he would do an encore.
With 6 albums, you might expect a longer show but this performance was to celebrate the new album. Musiq focused on his new record rocked some past hits and left the crowd wanting more. I don’t think anyone can be mad at that.