You know it’s a good day when you receive an invitation to attend an amazing music event. That was the case with the Lexus-sponsored Verses and Flow Live event held at the Long View Gallery in DC’s Shaw neighborhood. Verses and Flow has previously featured the powerful performances of Faith Evans and Jill Scott, paired with talented local and nationally renowned spoken word artists. The format followed its title. It featured the verses of a spoken word artist and the musical flow of a vocalist. Hosted by radio/tv personality, Adimu, it all went down live on air, on TV One.
Walking into the event, you most certainly felt a buzz of activity in the air, and that was before they started letting everyone in. I shortly realized what the buzz was about. Cathy Hughes, owner of Radio One came in just before me and was in media receiving area where attentive photographers were making every effort to get her attention in front of the Lexus Verses & Flow branded backdrop.
After snapping pictures of her and her guests my attention turned towards the venue which seemed like it was meant to be a club more than a gallery. My next thought was “how did they get those cars in here?” The new Lexus coupe and sedan provided sufficient decoration for the event and Instagram fodder for those who wanted to pose as future owners. Flashing lights and Lexus branding were everywhere. So was the open bar, providing enough social lubrication to ensure everyone enjoyed the upcoming performances. The crowd of attendees was the hard to find mix of young and fashion-conscious professionals who know how to network and socialize. The casual observer would think that it was just a networking event, but everyone seemed on edge, enjoying themselves but with anticipation of more to come.
Seats filled up immediately once they opened the rear performance area. Adimu, the MC, introduced Jon Goode, an artist I’d seen perform previously at spots in the city. His delivery on childhood reminisces was crystal clear and his lyrical flow often contained purposeful staccato. It brought back my childhood memories of having to be in before the street lights came on. His performance was well received. It felt like the audience took a similar trip down memory lane.
After a brief break, spoken word artist Vision made his presence known as well, crafting an experience far beyond his lyrical content. His lyrics imbue the frenetic energy of his delivery. A piece he performed grabbed everyone’s attention. The words passionately tumbled from his mouth, seamlessly transferring his feelings to the audience, tapping on an emotional nerve. Check out a video of him performing.
Ledisi was the musical highlight of this Verses and Flow Live edition. She gave an impressive performance. She pulled the audience in with hits from her previous albums, including “Pieces of Me.” It’s been quite some time since I’ve heard that sort of raw and powerful singing in such an intimate setting. Not to detract from Vision, the very talented spoken word artist, but Ledisi singing “I Blame You” from her most recent album The Truth blew everyone away. Performances from Season 3 of the show were also amazing, and Season 4 apparently is already filming in LA. So be sure to tune in.