San Francisco, Calif. -- Last Friday night in San Francisco, the Warfield was the sight of two of the most groundbreaking contemporary soul artist in recent memory performing on the same stage. Brooklyn’s own
, and the one and only
2011 has seen Theophilus breakthrough into the mainstream with his debut album
. He’s played shows all over the world and has continued to build his ever growing fan base. London’s performance was a mix of modern day Marvin Gaye, with the sex appeal of a young Prince. The women in the audience couldn’t help but become googly eyed over his presence, but it’s hard to blame them when London is constantly searching for women to seduce while on stage. London is on his game during his tracks with a minimal beat, where his words can capture the room and ears of his female admirers. His cover of Marvin Gaye’s "I Want You" is not only a tribute to a legend that whose creativity has inspired London, but a captivating expression of his own creativity. While London still has a ways to go in reaching his sonic potential, you can tell no one is having as much fun figuring it out than the man with the last name London.
As the night went on the energy in the Warfield became electric. Soon Erykah’s DJ came to the stage along with the rest of her band, the
, a collection of artists who’ve worked with her over the years and contributed to her signature modern soul sound. As her band began to warm up, a stunning Badu elegantly strolled on stage to the delight of the crowd.
Erykah has always been a talented recording artist, but she lives to perform. She is not only a vocalist on stage, she becomes and intricate part of her band during her performance, utilizing a laptop, and impressively a sequencer to create beats on the fly.
Erykah belted classic after classic that night. Familiar tracks like “Apple Tree” and “On and On” received all the love you would expect, but it was those moments that you could never take away from a recording that demonstrated how magical she truly is. Teasing us with cuts from her new album that she announced would be coming out in 2012, and flashes of her rhythmic genius created on the spot, as she gracefully controlled the entire room.
As she played into midnight, her voice and energy level only became more alive. One of the more magical moments was a tribute to the late
, featuring his verse from
's "Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)." She happily sang Nate's particularly raw parts with as much ladylike sweetness as she could gather. And for a finale, Badu's elegant and dreamy "See You Next Lifetime" was the perfect ending to an overall beautiful show.