"So glad I found you, babe. So thankful for your ways." - The Foreign Exchange, I Wanna Know
"This is a song about love," Phonte began. "Now, notice I didn't say that this is a love song. Y'all know the difference between a love song and a song about love?" Murmers filled the room but no definitive answer came back so he continued, "Love songs only talk about shit that happens in other love songs. None of that is real. A song about love is about how it really is. So, this...this is a song about love."
I Wanna Know opens with Phonte resigned to defeat, "Okay. You can blame it all on me tonight." In this song about love, though, he's throwing in the flag on a battle so that he doesn't lose the war. There aren't many fights in my love situation but that opening line caught me. Leave It All Behind was one of my most listened to albums around this time last year but it took Phonte on stage in a suit complete with prayer cloth standing next to Yahzarah in a beautiful lavender dress with Nicolay on the keys and ?uestlove sneaking on stage to work the drums, for me to really hear the lyrics.
The afternoon event was full of these kinds of revelations. Alice Smith may have stole the show a bit with her three song acoustic set of new material and her stunning voice live but, not by much. It was in a perfect place—the just opened W Hotel in Hollywood (which, with it's two bars [one inside and outside], gorgeous decor, attractive and charming staff and clientele, and metro convenience, may become my new fave drinking hole)—with the perfect host, Garth Trinidad doing his best Don Cornelius, for a good cause (oxfam America), and it featured my favorite LA crowd, the multiculti kiss 'n' grind fusicology type set. It's always nice to be around the well dressed eclectic folks of all racial and ethnic backgrounds getting down together intermingled and lovely in the soup.
But the day was about the music. Quetzal Guerrero surprised us with his contemporary latin rhythms and the power of his violin. Nneka got us to pump our fists and cheer for revolution. Alice Smith got a standing ovation with just her vocal instrument and her guitarist while Little Dragon closed out the show with two powerful tracks from their most recent Machine Dreams.
Well, those of us in attendance now all do.