I rolled up to Divan Orange on a clear, post-summer night. Everything was dark and clear. The air was still, even amidst the bustle of plateau nightlife, with just a hint of autumn. Tuesday night: a perfect evening to enjoy live soul, live hip hop, and some barbequed chicken. I walked through the front door and went straight to the bar. Where was this chicken? I took a seat and groped for my camera. Ordered a beer. Sultry vocals and vibrant guitar filled the room, complementing the darkness and background chatter of Divan.
FRASE, Atamone and FAWNA had the stage right from the get-go. FRASE had his guitar and FAWNA, a mic. Atamone manned the beats, creating a wonderful balance of live performance with an electronic emphasis. The sound system was excellent. We wondered if it had been recently upgraded (it had). Seriously, where was the chicken?
FRASE is an excellent performer. His stage presence is incredible; he isn’t afraid to take up space, dance about, move to and fro, and all that jazz. The upcoming EP Daggers and Shields is promising indeed, with a rotation of soulful lyrics, jazzy guitar melodies, and an overall smooth delivery with danceable tendencies. FAWNA sang backup vocals for the majority of the set. Her voice is lovely; sultry, throaty but clear in delivery, and excellently enunciated. It’s ear candy, for sure, and the perfect complement for FRASE’s set, like beer and chicken.
If FRASE and FAWNA are like peanut butter and jelly, Atamone is the bread. His beats provided an excellent foundation for vocal acrobatics, accentuated with looping guitar riffs. At certain points, the bass would rumble in, perfectly balanced and serving to underscore the live talent. Each of these artists are excellent in their own right, but to have them on stage together for most of the duration of the set was an utter pleasure, and something special, for sure.
Midnight approached. I learned that the chicken was long gone, but that was okay, because midnight meant Dead Horse Beats was fast approaching. So. Much. Energy! I never would have thought I’d be that ready to throw down on a Tuesday night, but there you have it. Upbeat, groovy and backed by a live band, Patrick Wade took the stage and killed it. This act was much more beat-focused than FRASE’s soulful poetry, and he took full advantage of Divan’s sound system to get the floor moving. Although the music was much more energetic than the preceding acts, the vibe was just as chill and profound. This lineup was amazing, and entirely complementary in fluidity of musical style. Overall, this was a wonderful experience and an excellent way to spend an evening. Daggers and Shields was released on September 15.
Written and Photographed by D. Niko Holmes
*edited by Kate Erickson