Neo-Soul Crooner Musiq Soulchild graced the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club on Saturday, July 21st 2018. Dressed in jean shorts and a t-shirt, Musiq seemed relaxed and ready to perform; however, the show came across as more of a sound check than an actual performance. Musiq opened his set with “Halfcrazy” from his 2002 sophomore album Juslisen. Musiq’s signature voice was a bit on the pitchy side throughout the song, which was a bit of a letdown. I’ve been privileged enough to see Musiq LIVE numerous times, and vocally he’s been better.
Thankfully Musiq made the wise choice to start the show with his older material that fans know and love instead of trying out his newer stuff. Highlights from the concert included classic ballads “Don’t Change,” “Teach Me,” “So Beautiful,” and “I Do.” Vocally, Musiq sounded better on these songs than his opening number, particularly on “Teach Me,” where he has to sing a high note.
Musiq did take the time out to try out some of his new material from his double album Feel the Real, which was released this past September. “Simple Things” and “Start Over” were the songs performed from the album. While I knew the songs and the performances were good, most of the audience didn’t seem to catch on.
As the night progressed, it was time for Musiq’s signature ballad, “Love,” from his debut album Aijuswanaseing. Released eighteen years ago, “Love” still sounds as fresh as it did when I heard it as a nineteen-year-old college freshman. Musiq made the wise choice to tease the audience by letting his band play the opening stanza for a few moments before singing a note. When it was time to sing Musiq took his time and delivered on his vocal talents.
Musiq closed his set out with his up-tempo hits “Just Friends,” and “B.U.D.D.Y,” and the venue turned into a party. Musiq was on stage for less than an hour, which leads to my criticism of his performance. After eighteen years in the music industry and eight albums, Musiq has enough material for a ninety-minute show. No songs were from performed his sixth album MusiqInTheMagiq, and he also omitted quite a few more of his hit songs.
While Musiq is still vocally talented, his fans and the R&B music genre deserved better than he gave them.
Final Grade C+