Mayer Hawthorne Brings the Soul Brigade to Oakland + Photos

 

Photos by Kola Shobo
Words by Brandon Diaz

As if Oakland needed any more soul, they sure got it from Mayer Hawthorne‘s stellar performance at the Fox Theater in Oakland’s Uptown district.

The evening began with a brief but lively performance from curly-haired songstress, Gavin Turek, who strode about the stage with Tina Turner flair in a stunning lavender dress. As the theater filled, Danish soul duo Quadron stole swoons from the packed house as vocalist Coco O. took center stage with a stunning sequined ensemble and ruby red lips.

Their 45-minute set was filled with lively songs from 2013’s Avalanche, all ears clinging to Coco’s angelic voice, eyes affixed to her striking pant-suit dress and tasteful fingerwaves. Sans producer Robin Hannibal (technically one-half of the band), Quadron held attention as they ran through a set that included “LFT,” “Sea Salt,” and a breathtaking cover of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor.”

And as that sweet perfume of soul music washed the crowd, Quadron finished, allowing Mayer Hawthorne and his backing four-piece band to bring the funk.
Emerging from a glowing broken heart at center stage, the Detroit-area native brought a convivial night of neo-Motown to the Fox. Sporting a royal blue two-button suit and a pair of Nike Air-Max sneakers, Hawthorne lead his band through a nonstop set of grooves that kept hands in the air with continuous jams from his sing-a-long songbook.

Read the rest after the jump

Giant Step’s 20th Anniversary: Groove Academy Flyers (1990-1996)

This short video collage chronicles the shows and events from 1990 through 1996 of the company that preceded Giant Step: The Groove Academy. This is the first time that the flyers and posters of Groove Academy shows have been digitized.

The concept behind The Groove Academy was to give an opportunity for the masters of funk and groove to perform their craft in front of a young audience and new generation of fans as most only knew these artists from samples used in hip-hop and rap. At this time, many of the originators were in fact forgotten in the USA and had to go to Europe and Japan to make a living. The Groove Academy was determined to help re-launch careers in the States and give them their just props!

As time went on and Giant Step was born, The Groove Academy became the concert wing of the company and helped to introduce new artists. By the mid 1990s, The Groove Academy came to an end, putting all events under the unified umbrella of Giant Step.

Stay tuned for more memorabilia as we celebrate our 20th Anniversary and please share any memories, feedback, or your own photos from this historic time. To see the individual flyers and posters from this video, view the album on our facebook page.