LA Live a popular tourist attraction and known spot for downtown entertainment, hosted two Grammy nominated artists Marsha Ambrosius, and Miguel at Club Nokia, October 17, 2011, as they continued their Grey Goose Rising Icons Tour. Marsha, most familiar to our eyes and ears from her time with the English Soul/R&B group Floetry, solidified her solo career, with her debut album Late Nights & Early Mornings. Whereas Miguel, a Los Angeles native maintained his notoriety by uploading cult classic songs via his MySpace page, until his debut album, All I Want Is You, was released last year. With somewhat similar experiences in the entertainment industry as songwriters and performers not fitting into one particular mold, for this show it was best to leave your expectations at the door, and just try to keep up.
Going to a club on a Monday normally isn’t too exciting; however, entering Club Nokia via the escalators, then passing mandatory security, it started to feel like an upscale event as people started to hype themselves up. Once inside the crowd had two options, stay downstairs and mingle at the bar, or go upstairs and mingle at the bar. By 8:30 most people had their drink in hand, waiting for Miguel to come out and do his radio singles; however, they were treated to John West, as the opening act. The downtown crowd had moments of consternation, perhaps unfamiliar with the crooner’s Santa Monica street performances. However, as the albeit brief set continued the chatter changed from “who’s that?” to “okay, that boy can sing”, as John West reminded the audience of his current single “Lovely” featuring rapper Pusha T.
Oh that song? Yeah, that song.
Finally with the staged prepped with a band, high-def screens, and lasers beaming, the crowd knew it was Miguel’s turn to take the stage as the beat of “My Piece” played, but just as a tease, as Miguel chose to perform “Strawberry Amazing” instead. Still wearing dark shades, and a leather jacket, Miguel then performed the hit, “All I Want Is You”, changing the pace up by adding an electric twist, as the extraterrestrial like images projected off the screen. After a couple of “LA!” chants to confirm everyone’s attendance, the show continued with “Girl With the Tattoo,” “Pay Me,” and “Girls Like You,”which transitioned into a hip-hop mix that included Tupac’s “I Get Around,” which not so coincidentally got stuck on the lyric “just be happy with this quickie,” repeatedly. Keep up.
With the extended version of “Quickie” being even more specific during his live performance, it was no wonder that his plum stripped shirt was sweated out as he came back to the stage to perform his last songs “Hero” and “Sure Thing”.
Now with the audience feeling some type of way, the pairing of the two singers seemed quite obvious, as Marsha walked on stage in an all white men’s dress shirt, with a sexy black piano in the background, as DJ Aktive hyped the crowd. Not beating around the bush, Marsha began her set with her sultry single, “Late Nights, Early Mornings.” A song or so later, she was behind the piano playing “With You,” and people started standing very close to each other. By the time she performed “Butterflies,” she had already transitioned into a new outfit; a black tank top, red jacket, and gold short shorts. Just as butterflies do, Marsha has metamorphosized with a new look and revealing more than previously did while in Floetry. With the venue being sold out, there was no shortage in seeing people singing and grinding to “Can’t Help It,” “Cheat on You,” and “Say Yes.”
The audience and the performer appeared very comfortable with each other, as Marsha explained it, she doesn’t have an “AKA,” she is Marsha all the time, and all the time she is Marsha. Therefore, it wasn’t strange when DJ Aktive took over and played a set of hip-hop classics including the Luniz “I Got Five on It,” while Marsha danced along; because that seems like something Marsha would do. Dance.
For those who came alone, Marsha’s songs made it possible for people with a personality to find a mate, however, some people didn’t want to go home. For those who stayed they heard “Far Way,” “Lose Myself,” and an encore that included something new using a Suzanne Vega hook, and something old, from Eddie Murphy…. “Soul Glow”. Keep up.
Expectations? Take them off.