You don't have to be old and stuck in a sexless marriage to do something special for the women in your life. Seeing as I'm neither old, nor married, nor dating, I thought it'd be a great idea to take my mom out on a "date." A huge Kem fan, she'd surely enjoy a evening of soul and comedy right? But who knew I'd learn so much.
Within seconds of arriving at Ovens Auditorium, I realized I was 1) easily one of the youngest people there and 2) desperately underdressed.
I swear there was a secret, unsaid, old Head dress code and I don't own anything brown. Nor Kangol caps, corduroy or velvet blazers. I'm dead on the striped button-ups and linen pants. And gators? I'm almost certain they have a sticker at the register that says, 'Must be born before this date in 1974' to even purchase those.
One of the most amusing parts of experience was seeing how middle-aged men refer to their wives. Their's something semi-sweet (in a greeting card way) about an older guy calling his wife, "my lady," even though some of them had been married since Otis Redding was on the charts, they still introduce their wife of decades as, "my lady." Hey, maybe she's everything he needs and more (Boom, Jeffery Osbourne reference!).
Another term many seemed to be in love with was, "that cat." Who knew we had so many "smooth cats" or "cool brothers" in this city? I had no clue, but, after a series of conversations, I learned otherwise.
I thought the show did a great job of showcasing local talent through their opening acts. Shableek was a Charlotte-born jazz musician that set the tone for the evening before Greensboro-based comedienne, Charlotte native and Def Comedy vet Dean Martin.
During the intermission, mom settles back in and reminisces about her first concert ever, A five for $5 concert featuring Parlament-Funkadelic and Bootsy Collins which actually took place right next door at Bojangles Coliseum, which used to be Independence Arena and Charlotte Coliseum. It's crazy to think $5 can barely even get you fast food now and in the '70s it got you "Atomic Dog" and a contact high from the copious amounts of marijuana being blazed during the show.
The whole chips and drinks thing was kinda ghetto, The intermission was a classic, 'you can take someone out of the hood but you can't take the hood out of them' moment, people came back for Kem eating Lay's and pretzels like it was a Panthers game, all but killing any air of sophistication. Nothing can take you out of groove like a ruffling chip bag and subsequent smacking.
V101.9's Preston Miles seemed to be reaching on his MC duties. After failing to coin a new phrase to replace "grown and sexy" or rile the crowd up for the next act, he pressed on, rambling, singing and doing shout outs. It made me think hard about how he grabbed the number one show on the number one station in Charlotte and miss the time constraints of radio talk breaks that prevent this from happening on-air.
It's obviously the music. Slow jams are bulletproof. For what many of them lack lyrically, they make up for in just raw sensuality and this show was full of that.
Kem is musical Cialis, plain and simple. An awkward revelation to have while sitting next to your mom but definitely a mental note to remember for future relationships. It's hard to think of any guy who left that concert and didn't "win" unless they were also with one of their parents or said something stupid while they were walking to the car.
Kem lived up to any expectations and more. He flashes a great flair and passion on stage, even his banter between songs only served to endure him more to his fans. Giving glory to God and then a glimpse of what the journey was for him to be where he was today. I mean, anytime you can get a grown woman to shriek and exhale at the very mention of a foot rub, you're doing something right on stage.
Other than fighting the urge to turn around and tell the natural haired chick behind me to shut the hell up multiple times during the show as she tried to talk to her dude over the music, it was a great night and great show.
I'm still not convinced the men really like the music, but even the dumbest guy realizes what can come from sitting, nodding and pretending to enjoy the show, right?