The Night the Underground Rose
They lined up down the block and around the corner for this show. They came from Harlem, Brooklyn, Connecticut, Jersey, DC, even Atlanta for the experience. KimberlyNichole, that Puffy-Haired Tower of Power, had put together a bill that promised extra squared; a veritable who’s who of up and coming artists. The space – named, appropriately enough, (le) Poisson Rouge – was filled to capacity, stuffed like Geppetto’s whale. And just like that fire Pinocchio and Geppetto built inside the whale, KimNicky et al., lit that stage on fire.
After a smoldering intro from KimberlyNichole in which she slaughtered the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” the stage gave way to Sophia Urista. I didn’t know shit about Urista before the show, but now I do. Wanna know what I know? 1. She can sang down. 2. She took the stage rockin’ skin-tight jeans that showcased… ummm… her assets… and 3. the audience went there with her. After Urista, it was time to inject a little testosterone into the proceedings and Jaiden (the Cure) hit the stage. Usually offering up selections that show off his amazing falsetto and doing enough runs to make KC and Jo-Jo jealous, Jaiden instead opted for a more reserved showcase this evening. Which, actually, worked in his favor, as he provided a different slice of entertainment than expected from him. Making his turn on the stage look effortless, Jaiden showed the crowd exactly what an accomplished performer he is. And, in the process, broke his fans’ hearts when KimberlyNichole let it be known that he is moving to LA.
Next up, KimberlyNichole – in her second tutu of the evening – giving us the hit-waiting-to-happen,
“Telephone” “Disconnected,” before segueing into her signature hit, a slowed-down, sultry rendition of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” The crowd listened; they went crazy. KimNicky knows her audience. Up next was the King of Glamour Soul himself, Rahbi. Fresh off a plane from the ATL, and dressed like he was a member of Cleopatra’s court, Rahbi clearly confused more than a couple of people in the crowd. His is a spacial blend of showmanship that can easily catch the unprepared off-guard (it certainly did me the first time I saw him perform). That being said, I have witnessed him win over audience after audience and he did it again this time. By the time his set ended, he had the audience singing along with his interpolation of “Sweet Dreams” (available on his live album; you should own it).
And then the Queen of the Underground – in yet another tutu – bounced back onstage to close out the show. I’m not sure why she didn’t do my favorite – the title track from her Yellow Brick Journey (I’m making the assumption that the slow, thought-provoking song didn’t fit into the ebullient trajectory we were already taking) – but I got over it as she completed the perfect troika of quintessential KimNicky cover songs, rounding out the Rise of the Underground with her delicious take on Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana.” I would have provided videos, but it’s your own fault for not coming. You should have been there.
And rise, they did.