Category Archives: reviews

MATINAE Music Live: MOONCHILD

April 9, 2022, Buckhead Theater, Atlanta GA

The opening act Austin Antoine, appropriately describes himself as a performance artist. Antoine sang, rapped including a freestyle, and performed the famous Kid n Play House Party dance sequence with his cousin who came out for a few numbers, all while providing his own musical accompaniment (by laptop). The performance was fun, Antoine was engaging, and the audience, self-included, seem to have enjoyed the performance. Antoine’s music is available on all streaming platforms.

I missed the second act due to an unfortunate hot flash incident🔥. From what I could gather, a presentation and video from/about a local charity supported by the headliners was shown. Having properly cooled off I resumed my seat and soon raucous applause and cheers began for the headliners, Moonchild.

I first heard the group on Twitch some time in 2020, so the group is new to me. Nevertheless what I heard and subsequently added to my collection was enough to make me want to see them live. Moonchild is comprised of Amber Navran, Andris Mattson and Max Bryk. They were also joined by Efa Etoroma, Jr. on drums for the Atlanta date.

The band is tight. The three principles are all multi-instrumentalists which I would say lean toward soul and jazz. The set list included:

  • Too Much to Ask
  • The Other Side
  • Cure
  • The List
  • Run Away
  • Tell Him
  • Love I Need

and more. Love I Need was a funky banger. The album version features Rapsody, the live performance briefly transitioned into Anita Baker’s Caught up in the Rapture which was a joyful sing-a-long before returning to the funk.

The audience sang along throughout the band’s performance and whenever Navran stretched out of her normal vocal style just the tiniest bit, the audience went bananas and started shouting SANG AMBER! Navran’s vocals have been written about plenty, all I could add is that I would love to see her stretch a bit beyond her signature sound beyond the teasers she displayed in the live performance.

Seeing Moonchild was an enjoyable experience. Anyone who likes a soulful, jazzy type sound is encouraged to attend this show when it comes to your city, if it is not already sold out.

For more information on the charitable organizations that Moonchild partners with, please see their website.

Photos: MsThorns

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MATINAE Music Live: Tank and the Bangas

The show was on 3/27/2022. I have been sitting on this for two weeks because a conclusion just could not be reached until now.

First I want to thank the parking gods and the cleaning staff of Buckhead Theater in Atlanta. The parking was easy and the theater Pristine. I had a seat in the balcony because my days of standing through a show appear to be over.

The opening act was Cory Henry and his band The Funk Apostles. If funk is in it, I’m here for it and Henry did not disappoint. He is a high energy keyboard master, vocalist, performer, minister of music. At times I heard Sly, Herbie and our beloved Prince. They seem to be his influences but his sound is his own, maybe a funk-jazz-gospel-rock??? I heard it all in his playing. The Funk Apostles band, instrumental and vocals were tight. Highlights were:

▻ Days – a bouncy, danceable groove, a bop
▻ Trade it All – this GOES, Henry’s solo was outstanding on this
▻ GawtDamn – he killed this, soulful, shout-worthy LAWD
▻ Alone – Henry described as the introverts anthem, was a jam with clearly inspired by early Prince.

I really enjoyed the performance and Henry and his band seemed to enjoy it as much as the audience. His music is streaming on all platforms, you need to see him live though, for real.

and now…

Tank is the technicolor dreamcoat. She is multi-faceted, vocalist, spoken word artist, playful all of the things, the Group plays all genres and do it well. However, I did not stay until the end because…

I am old.

As an old, Tank and the Bangas were a lot to take in, the colors , the baby-voiced, squealing thing Tank does was too much for me. The youngins LOVED it! Screaming, dancing, singing along, giving all the audience participation. My thoughts of the show, were the same as those when listening to the recorded music. This chile is TALENTED but wooooo it was too much for me.

To be clear, I was out of place, not the band, not the crowd. I liken the experience to the way my parents talked about hip-hop in the beginning. They thought it was loud, noisy, too-much going on. Later, they came around, my dad in fact is now a Snoop Fan.

Would I recommend this show? Absolutely, I enjoyed the reaction of the crowd, I enjoyed the vocals and the spoken word and the band, the baby-voiced squealing was a bit much for me. Oh, and the chicken wings the young ladies were eating next to me smelled and gave me a headache.

Would I go to see them again? Absolutely. A funny thing happened for me to arrive at this conclusion, the NCAA National Championship. I heard her before I saw her, singing the national anthem in all her glory and in New Orleans tradition. It was dope.

Photos: MsThorns

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MATINAE Music – Colman Brothers (self-titled)

I was introduced to Bandcamp fortunately for my ears and unfortunately for my pocket by a fellow music lover I met through DJ Spinna’s Twitch stream. Upon landing at Bandcamp I selected genres of interest and received in my recommendations The Colman Brothers self-titled debut album released in 2011.

Hailing from the UK, brothers Mat on trombone and Andrew trumpet/flugelhorn create a rhythmic, horn-infused danceable latin-jazz release. The album opens with Mr. D. G., a swinging tune that gives visions of the dance floor and is followed by Another Brother which begins at a furious pace that does not let up. Towards the middle of the album the Brothers slow things down with a surprising remix of a song called She Who Dares, sounding very hip-hop, which reminded me of KRS One’s MCs Act Like They Don’t Know. Also featured on the album is Mat and Andrew’s sister, Sara Colman as the vocalist on on Some Other Wonder. Her performance is smooth and smoky and gives the visual of Ms. Colman blessing the mic of a jazz club.

The Colman Brothers came out blazing on their debut release. Aside from a remix album of their own and appearances on compilations from their label, I was unable to locate any additional recorded work from the Brothers, which is a shame. This album was too good for our ears not be graced with additional music. Hopefully soon, we will hear more from them. 💿💿💿💿💿

Photos: MsThorns

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MATINAE Music Live –  Abstractions: Zo!, Tall Black Guy & Deborah Bond

I think what I heard Wednesday night was joy. That joy leapt off the stage and into all of us in attendance at the Abstractions tour stop at City Winery Atlanta, February 9, 2022.

I had a seat in front of the stage and saw up close the interplay between these talented musicians, Zo!, Deborah Bond and Tall Black Guy, accompanied by some really tight musicians from Atlanta on bass and drums.

Zo! was musical director,  pianist and emcee and played each role with ease and a virtuosity. Tall Black Guy put in work! I don’t know what all those things were called that he was playing but, he brought in music, effects, sly commentary and kept the music moving. Last but not least was Ms. Deborah Bond. She is a petite fleur with a big voice who can sang sang! She sang songs that Phonte, Carmen, Joi, Darien etc. etc., were featured on in Zo!’s discography as well as selections from TBG’s Remixes and Tings Vol. 1. and others, beautifully. She is a fire dancer as well!

All selections were outstanding and I particularly enjoyed Hold My Hand, Connected, I Know You, I Live You For Sure, and a Go-Go style Prototype by Outkast. This show is the best I’ve seen in the pandemic era, and one of the most enjoyable, fun shows I have been to in years. The key word again is joy. These musicians bring a joyful noise and clearly enjoy playing together.

If Abstractions comes to your city, DO NOT MISS IT!

Photos: MsThorns

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MATINAE PENS – Pilot Acroball, this is it

I had to go there because it was highly rated in some review that was based on some reviews that were on that gigantic online retailer’s site. Where I went was to the Pilot Acroball 1.0 mm medium ballpoint pen.

The package said incredible smooth ✅, vivid ink colors ✅ striking good looks and an effortless writing experience? Let’s not get carried away.

The grip on this is outstanding. Made of textured, curved rubber it was comfortable on the achiest of arthritic hand days.

The clicker is the clickiest, i.e. the thrust mechanism seems solid and unlikely to fail for before the ink runs out.

Then pen is nice-looking with a colored gel like barrel that lets you see its parts

The question as always with the ballpoint pen is does it pass the blob test?

Blue on the far right should be an indication.

From here it looks nice. On further inspection…

This Pilot Acroball performs well in short bursts of writing like that above. For journal writing, the pen becomes more blobalicious, not so much so that I wouldn’t recommend it though. Rating 3.5🖊 of 5.

If you’re a Pilot Acroball user, let me know know your experience in the comments.

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MATINAE PENS – A Lightweight

I’m starting to feel a way about these ballpoint pens. The latest entry is the Zebra Z Grip Plus 1.0 ballpoint.

The clicker is nice, sturdy and doesn’t give indication that it will fail any time soon. The grip is really nice, a soft ridged-rubber with nice placement. One day, when not ashy, I’ll put a hand in there to demo.

This pen is a little light in the fanny for my taste. Big Mama likes a pen with a little heft to it. This felt fragile but appears to be a solidly built plastic barrel.

And the writing of it all???? It’s okay, the flow is fairly smooth but as noted in the photo, there are some skips. The ink blobs I guess are a thing with ballpoint 1.0s a fine tip may yield different results.

Overall the Z Grip is serviceable for jotting down notes and journal writing, not so much if the written product is to be distributed. Rating: 3 of 5

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MATINAE PENS – Redemption Maybe

Ballpoints might have been a wrap after the last fiasco. The PaperMate InkJoy 550 RT managed to save the category for me.

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The colors in the set of eight are bright and vibrant. The ballpoint is smooth and rolls over the paper like butter.

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The grip is a soft rubber that is comfortable in the fingers

This pen has the clickiest of clickers. There’s no mistaking whether the ballpoint is in or out.

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This set has graced many a journal page and looked good for the most part. However the final test revealed Les BLOBS.

They aren’t severe, certainly not enough for me to chuck them. In fact they are staying in the rotation because they are so buttery smooth.

The InkJoy 550 RT is a solid choice. If you rock this, let me know your experience in the comments.

Photos: MsThorns

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