A very special show highlighting female vocalists played for a rocking and appreciative Skipper’s Smokehouse audience on Sunday, August 7. These ladies — Ari Chi Bryant, Flow Sisters and Shevonne Philidor — have become friends and wanted to combine talents for wonderful night.
And wonderful it was!
We arrived late — too late to catch surprise opener Marcus Boothe, a great sax player, performing solo for a few numbers. He has a wide resume and played several numbers with Shevonne at the end of the night.
We did get there in time to hear the set from Ari Chi, a strong vocalist who accompanies herself on ukulele. Her voice was reminiscent of Christie Lenée and Shevonne at times, and her positive message reverberated throughout the crowd, filled with soul.
Flow Sisters were next on the program. Alexa and Bella Toro performed previously with Endless Flow. Since then, they have been in demand at shows and festivals to sit in for a variety of groups in the area. In the meantime, they have been pointing toward this day when they would unveil their new band.
And what a great band they attracted! Mark Mayea (Ajeva), keyboards, Sam Adwell, guitar, Vinny Svoboda (Displace), bass, Tucker Sody (Displace), drums, and Jimmy Rector, percussion helped to make this a very special occasion.
On stage, the sisters are a swirl of dance, color and fashion, truly a great visual. Their voices are the real focus, however, and they sounded delightful presenting an entire set of original music written in coordination with Mayea. They began, naturally enough, with “Go with the Flow,” and the remainder of the set did exactly that.
“Colors of Green “ had a lovely islands lilt to it, followed by “No Light.” It was clear that the band was enjoying playing this set as much as Alexa and Bella enjoyed presenting it. Three more originals filled out their set: “A Day Gone By,” “Sacred Grounds” and “Circle Spells.” Their voices truly soared on “Sacred Grounds.”
It was a tremendous first show. Flow Sisters are already working on new material and will likely incorporate some covers in their sets as they blossom even further.
The remainder of the night belonged to headliner Shevonne. She is a dynamic performer with a great voice. Her resume boasts stints on America’s Most Talented Kids, America’s Got Talent and American Idol, and every bit of that was in evidence in her professionalism and polished stage performance. Whatever we expected, this was so much more!
The set actually began with just her top-notch band romping through a funk tune. It transitioned as Shevonne came on stage, singing “Cellphone.” After that, the set was entirely songs from her new album Shevizzle (except the party at the end!). She began with “Just Right” and “Sunset Love.”
After “If You Dare (Follow Me),” she mentioned bass player Eric Protic’s bare feet. Then she said, “Eric has eyeliner! We love a man in eyeliner!” BIG ROAR from the crowd. Next came a slow, sexy “Stay with Me,” featuring Marcus Boothe on alto and keyboard player Julian Carrington using his talk box.
Guitarist Andrew Warren came to the fore on “And It Burns.” Then Shevonne asked, “Where’s my weirdos at?” There were plenty of us, for sure. “All My Days” had a powerful “All Along the Watchtower”-type vibe to it, and it included a brief drum tour de force from Terrence Betts. Shevonne explained that they were about to play the last song from Shevizzle, “Sell Out,” after which she promised a party.
It already was a party, but we understood what she meant when she lit into “Play That Funky Music.” After a Caribbean-tinged tune about champagne, she invited Flow Sisters on stage as a long medley of tunes ensued, beginning with a reggae tune everybody else knew built on “Angel of the Morning.” No matter — it was a blast. Flow Sisters stayed up for “We Are Family,” which never sounded better.
And that was followed by Cee-Lo Green’s famous “Fuck You.” They closed with the first half of “Proud Mary,” Tina Turner style, went off stage but returned for the “rough” part.
This was a wonderful night of music from four young ladies, two great bands, and a surprise saxophone star! We look forward to the next one!