The Neo Rockstar Super Hippie, aka Raheem DeVaungh, was in London for the first time in five years to play a sold out jazz cafe.
I listened to all three of his albums recently and was reminded that a) I love his music… but a) boy can he talk and c) he could really annoy me live. Luckily my fears were largely unfounded as he put on a fun and creative show last night.
When he strutted on stage, sunglasses strapped to his face though, my fears appeared to be confirmed… however after the first song they came off and he turned out to be a very likable fella; one very passionate about his music.
The show kicked off fairly quickly, Raheem flying through tracks from all three albums. A re-working of Guess Who Loves You More being a nice surprise.
However, the show really started when, in true Neo Soul fashion he asked the crowd “can I slow it down for a minute”. Then he came alive. Then the crowd got involved. There was crackle, it sounded like lead fell out, whatever it was couldn’t have been timed better as it made the sound rounder and richer with less obvious distortion. Believe In Me was warm and sumptuous; good humour through his use of showcards adding personality. His slow jams didn’t alienate the fellas either as he tried his best to get everyone involved during Woman (comical use of showcards again helped).
When he grabbed a phone from an unexpected crowd member and started a diatribe, my heart sunk; my shoulders dipped. Was the great start just a facade? Were all the negative things I assumed coming to fruition…?
…then he dropped a rock version of Position and all was forgiven instantly. Full of guitars screaming and wailing, Raheem’s voice punched over the top each word impassioned. The Rockstar was unleashed and I was reminded why I love live music; moments like this when a great song has new life injected.
The rockstar disappeared for a bit with some fairly bland slow jams. A short set of soul classics bought everyone back to life – including Raheem.
A little later, the shirt came off, panties were thrown on stage (literally) and the animal was unleashed as he comically told one woman who laughed how he would “mash it up” because it’s that kinda show! There was no microphone stand to hump although if one were there I’m sure he would’ve given it a good seeing to. It all crescendo’d in to a proclamation of him being the Super-Neo-Rockstar-Hip-hop-R&B-whatever… seriously bruv, no one calls you that! Joker. Stick with Grammy-Nominated-R&B-Singing-Neo-BET-Winner.
Then in a blink of an eye the fun loving lad was back ordering the crowd in to a soul train before joining in himself.
Raheem DeVaughn has many persona’s and all of them were on show last night, for better or worse. One thing is clear though, the brother can sing and has a solid and diverse selection of songs.
Definitely worth seeing live if you get the chance.
Ps. Better photos soon (I hope) need to get to photoshop because the lighting was poor