Written by Ricky Havansek
I really enjoy going to shows at Beat Kitchen, it’s a great venue and always a ton of fun! With a lineup like D’Zhari, Human Bloom, and Flora, I knew I’d have a fantastic Friday night on February 22, 2019.
D’Zhari kicked the night off with some of her epic tunes, which were the perfect blend of R&B, hip-hop, gospel, and soul. I couldn’t help but sing and dance along to their cover of FKJ’s Skyline. The entire band was on point all night, the bassist and drummer locked into groovy shuffles that had me rockin’ side to side. The guitarist and keyboardist guided the chord structure and took turns flying through fills. The band was very impressive, but still left room for D’Zhari’s gorgeous vocals to chime in. She belted out powerful melodies, floated through delightful vocal runs, reached up to intense high notes, and made it all look ridiculously easy. She ended their performance with her awesome single titled “Getaway,” straight into an amazing, high-energy cover of Jill Scott’s, “He Loves Me.”
Wow… All I can say, I know I’m going to be keeping my eye out for new music and show announcements from D’Zhari!
I was not ready for the intergalactic soul/jazz fusion madness that was Human Bloom. They were pleasantly sporadic, but kept up with a unique groove. With beats like theirs, I couldn’t stand still! Reminiscent of Hiatus Kaiyote, they jumped between time signatures with an organized erraticness that left me captivated. Their set had an incredible flow with beautiful coordination. Through utilizing a softer looped guitar to guide the mood, the rest of the band was also set up for extravagant builds. Following a powerful singer like D’Zhari is no easy task, but Imani Rousselle took charge of that stage immediately, pouring her soul into the complex jazzy melodies. They finished with a dazzling new song, “Colors On You” (Note: I may have heard the title of the song incorrectly). The intro was special as it featured Jackson Shepard, lead guitarist and writer, singing for the first time. He killed it, of course, and the soft guitar loops built up into one final funky jazz explosion which ended on an epic drum fill.
Follow Human Bloom:
Oooo Eeeeee, and then it was Flora time! This was my third time seeing Flora, I knew they’re awesome live, and I was happily surprised by a whole bunch of new tunes this time around! Flora’s sound is very piano-driven, funky but folky, poppy but jazzy, hard to explain but easy to fall in love with! Early into their set they played a couple unreleased tracks, “Disco Friends” and “Underneath the Weather.” Then, an memorable cover of St. Vincent’s “Los Ageless” quickly entranced the crowd. This track was great because it showcased the intense talent of Flora’s supporting vocalist, Claire Albensoeder.
One of the best moments of the performance, in my opinion, was when Flora played a number of my favorite tracks off their debut album “Sword of Holly.” Unfortunately, this came with a sad announcement that this would be Karolina Prus’ last show with the band. She is an extremely talented saxophonist that has been with the band since the beginning, and although it’s a shame to hear that she won’t be a part of Flora anymore, you can still catch her shredding the saxophone with “The Calaveras.”
The end of the show revealed even more unreleased gems, “Distracted,” and then “Pencils” to close it all out. Both songs were amazing and I cannot wait to hear what else Flora has cookin’ in the studio. The band has a few more Midwest stops left on their tour (one more in Illinois), so I would definitely recommend checking out one of their performances!