SonReal – Fine Line Music Cafe – 2019-06-25

Full disclosure, I’ve spent most (if not all) of my life averse to any type of dance music for fear of being caught dancing and looking like a dork.  After going to SonReal, my first rap/hip-hop/R&B show last night, I have to say I’m pretty disappointed.  I’m disappointed that I resttricted myself from the wonderful genre of music and the atmosphere it creates.  I had an absolute blast.  I can honestly say, I’m a whole lot closer to either learning how to dance or caring a whole lot less about who’s watching or what they might think.

This was the first time I’d ever seen a “performance DJ” live also.  DJ Rich-A opened the show and got the crowd warmed up.  It was unreal to watch him go back and forth across all the various pieces of equipment in time to produce a mix of songs and sounds that never skipped a beat or sounded out of place.  That man was putting in work and it was paying off.  The crowd was really into it and getting pumped up for the main show.  DJ Rich-A closed out his set with a remix of Prince’s “Purple Rain” and the whole crowd was locked in and singing along.  They certainly researched their demographics and capitalized on that for the benefit of the show.

SonReal took the stage at 10:00 pm sharp, much credit to the venue and the performers for punctuality, that rarely happens.  There were only about 450-500 people in attendance, but that didn’t affect the quality of the performance.  You would have thoght that the crowd was 450 of SonReal’s closest friends.  The best adjective I could use to describe the entire performance is “soulful”.  It is readily apparent that SonReal is very passionate about his music and it comes from deep within.  Pair that deep connection with the lyrics, music and flow with a “Party Time” atmosphere and you have a recipe for a smashing night.  I think I can safely say that most of the crowd didn’t see the glitz and glam of a big performance up on stage, but were instead supporting a buddy doing what he loves doing before going out for a beer later.  It was a really unique connection.

The backing band was fantastic as well.  DJ Rich-A came back to support SonReal along with guitar, keyboards and drums.  One of the most interesting aspects of their performance was the guitar player who played his guitar “upside down”.  A leftie who just flipped a right hand guitar over withe the lowest strings on the bottom and the highest on the top.  Similar to legenary blues players Albert King and Otis Rush.  It was pretty incredible to watch the same instrument being played in a typical, but entirely different way.

If there was any doubt about how much I liked SonReal before the show last night, the fact that I’ve added “One Long Dream” and “The Aaron LP” to my music library should squash that notion quickly.  I will definitely be following this artist and I look forward to the next time they are in town.

Review and photos by Paul Allen