Review – Open Mic @ Steve’s Live Music (February)

crowded house as Steve's

crowded house at Steve’s

First off, hats off and ‘Good job Jenny,’ who came storming fashionably down the walkway at 8pm, on time! She also introduced Haleisha and other special guests that were in the audience plus the sponsors of the event/contributors of door prizes and more. She also gave lots of love for Steve and his team. Her goals always seem to be to show as much appreciation as possible and that’s admirable.

She and Haleisha, who is such a great MC, clear and understandable, announced the performers before each set. Though the show went fast, it was filled with top quality raqs art and energy. I’m not sure if this is a result of practice, new found dedication or a little bit of the Salimpour spirit from an earlier show this month…perhaps all three.

You may have already seen the line-up:
Jendayi Dance Company
Karma Karmelita
Oliva & B
Amirah Bey
Jaki Hawthorne in a solo
Black Sheep Ensemble in live music

Black Sheep Ensemble - Top Notch!

Black Sheep Ensemble – Top Notch!

Here are some highlights from the show…

Karma Karmalita was hot! She had impeccable, excellent execution from start to finish, a bit of a hot pepper at the start (something Tarik used to catch me on in my early days as dancer) but she managed it… overall, this is what one pays to see. I would hire her in heartbeat. She had an incredible drum solo and was indeed one of the top notch soloist of the night… the room was speechless at times, hung on her every move. Standing ovation from me, loved how she worked that bedluh, very professional. Very nice!

While the band set up, we did a little trivia. That was fun. It was branded the Faaridah and Andye Trivia hour out of respect for a great bellydance trivia game played at Fanoos during the AFBD show. I suggest everyone brush up on their dance history, costume terminology, Arabic language skills and more because this tradition is not going away. There will be bigger prizes and maybe even money for correct answers in the future. Big thanks to all the prize contributors including Amani who provided tickets to the 3rd Dancers’ Intensive. And to MBD for the tribal necklace from…so many great prizes that night! Who won the henna design??

Black Sheep Ensemble followed the trivia…and wow… This is what I like to dance to… my goodness… I want them at every single event! Every. Single. One. The power of those horns…was majestic. The dancer provided the zills and dance leads…they sang…it was unreal. We NEED that energy, nothing compares!

Amani with Tahtib

Stealing the show tonight was Amani Jabril!
I mean, we were up dancing in the clap section within seconds of her getting to the stage. It was just …ohhh man, I swear… anyone that does Tahtib well…is a friend of mine. I was just enamored, smitten and channeling the uncles tonight. She was so good I shot up out of my seat like the man in the yellow jacket at Dina’s (Al Msr) show. I mean she laid down the law with some truly authentic, original pieces known only to those in the east and hard to replicate in the west (but by darn she did it!) She gave us a very polished, raw and perfect first dance, then Amani worked that tahtib and produced a number so powerful the entire house just lost it in admiration. She ended with the infamous and respected “drop the mic” (in this case, tahtib) moment which sent the crowd into a well-deserved roar of applause. I felt very “at home” at that moment. I long for these types of dances at every single show…I’ve seen them attempted but no one does it like Amani. Mabrook ya jamila!!!

Black Sheep Ensemble ended the night for us with stellar music and tunes…again, this band is crucial for a good show, I’m convinced. I loved them from start to finish…even if their warm up did interfere with our trivia hour. Lol!

Everyone brought their A-game and I’m seriously eager to see this series continue! Shukran Jenny and Steve!

Thanks for reading!

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