photos by Dan Muller
intro by Christy Thacker
Starting at the age of 6, singer/songwriter Raphael Saadiq has been evolving and transforming the pop R&B scene around him. He’s like a musical sponge, absorbing a multitude of influences only to churn out his own distinct sound.
His newest album, The Way I See It, takes you back to the happy and rambunctious 60’s. The three-time Grammy Award Nominated and Best Album on iTunes (2008) record is full of soulful riffs and sweet vocals. Tracks like the saucy “Just One Kiss” and “Sure Hope You Meant It” are infectious, compelling you to get up and dance all night long.
Saadiq is not just a groovy vocalist; he’s a serious musician and entrepreneur. His roots go back to old school R&B multiplatimum group Tony! Toni! Toné!. When his talent could no longer be confined to just being in a band, Saadiq moved on to become an A-list producer and songwriter, producing and writing tracks for artists like John Legend, Joss Stone and Mary J Blige.
KEXP truly saved the best band for last (of the day — there’s more to come tomorrow) as we welcomed Saadiq and his funky band to the secret Music Lounge stage. The crowd went wild when the nine member jam band began their set with the sexy tune, “Let’s Take A Walk Outside.” Throughout the show, ecstatic fans (some apparently all the way from Tokyo) hooted and hollered as Saadiq’s smooth voice overtook the room. Fortified by three sizzling backup dancers, the vocals alone were enough to make me groove. With my eyes closed, it actually sounded more like a choir than four individuals, especially during “100 Yard Dash.”
Between the saxophone, trumpet, guitar, keyboard, bass, and drums, the performance was overall a melodic explosion. The audience couldn’t get enough, chanting and clapping the band back on stage for an encore where they left us with “Big Easy.” Damn, do I wish I lived in the swinging 60’s.
Raphael Saadiq is playing the Fisher Green Stage tonight at 9:30-10:45 p.m.