The-Dream, Jack Freeman, Lee-Lonn March 29, 2012 Fitzgerald's
"When you're fucking the wrong bitch, bad things happen."
The-Dream, clad in a black T-shirt, some cheap Ray-Ban frames with a Raiders snapback and those rather extravagant "You Aren't Really Up On This" Nike MAGs shoes said that Thursday night, sending those not-so-subtle shots towards his ex-wife Christina Milian. "Guess I was fucking the wrong bitch these past two years..."
Truthfully, it had been two years since Terius Nash took to a stage. The public backlash surrounding his divorce and lackluster third album served the course for a pretty awesome freebie in 1977 along with a string of appearances in NYC and during SXSW.
Hearing "Rockin' That Shit" in an Austin churchwasn't our cup of tea, so we waited until he brought his three-piece band and LED boards to a somewhat standing room-only Fitz.
Consider the decision smart.
Yes, the transitions that make his albums slight motion pictures made their way into his hour and fifteen minute long set, smattering old-school R&B heads with a brief rendition of Bell Biv Devoe's "When Will I See You Smile Again" into "I Luv Your Girl," utilizing every bit of the stage at his disposal.
Armed with a literal golden microphone, the singer-songwriter did indeed exhibit all the traits that make him a fan favorite -- the oversexed yet ironically witty tones of circa-2000 R. Kelly lyrically, with the poise and posture of a rock star. He hurts, yes, but he'll shake it off with a middle finger and move on.
Nash might not exactly have had the strongest voice, but the call-and-response chess match he plays with a crowd is spot on perfect. He jigged and danced to his own drum on "Ditch That", brought the lights down to accentuate "Fancy" (smartly moving into "Right Side Of My Brain") and before closing his set -- decided that the Lil Jon finale to his Love vs. Money LP was the perfect sendoff.
Let them shake their asses one more time sir, you had gotten them from club to bedroom and back all night.
The Houston vocal tussle between Jack Freeman and Lee-Lonn had another chapter added to it. Our girlfriend, a fan of both, couldn't help but squeal at Freeman's vocals covering songs from his Lynnie's Juke Joint LP.
Rough yet honest, Houston's most inconspicuous hook-killer channeled D'Angelo on "Away" and the LP's lead single "Slow Dance," even making one woman suffer a seizure in the crowd.
Lee-Lonn, immediately thrust upon stage after Freeman's exit, went against the grain by nearly going for broke his entire set, sans his band. Scatting, vibing and then some, the man with his name on his jacket broke through on the life-changing "Hands" and mid-tempo New Jack Swing-era "Maybe".
The battle continues, but at least we now know -- the girlfriend wants a little bit of both added to the bedroom playlist.
Personal Bias: The-Dream's transitions from song to song are better than most singers' full albums. King of the segueway got dammit.
The Crowd: Comprised of mostly females.
Overheard In The Crowd: "I AM NOT ON DRUGS!" (Said by musclebound guy spirit-fingering his way through a Rihanna/Beyoncé led DJ break)
Random Notebook Dump: Following Lee & Freeman were Dallas Blocker & CJ Hilton respectively. Blocker, known for his work with Z-Ro & Slim Thug added a cover of Jodeci's "Feenin'" into his opener for a nice R&B touch. Hilton won people over by actually utilizing a keyboard ala John Legend but a hell of a lot more lively in terms of putting together a full set.
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THE-DREAM SET LIST
"Shawty Is Da Shit" "Fast Car" "Nikki" "Falsetto" "Kill The Lights" w/ Casha "Silly" (Casha solo) "My Love" "When Will I See You Smile" (Bell Biv Devoe Cover) "I Luv Your Girl" "Up" (Loverance Remix) "Ditch That" "Walking On The Moon" "Loveking" "Purple Kisses" "Gangsta Luv" "Throw It In The Bag" "Fancy" "Right Side Of My Brain" "Used To Be" "Roc" "Rockin' That Shit" "Let Me See That Booty"