A Brand New Heavied Halloween
There was a time not so long ago when I dared not venture out the house on Halloween. I would stay home from work, munching on all that Halloween candy I had bought for Trick or Treaters who, I somehow knew, would never show. This year though I went in to the office and actually enjoyed being out and about in this crazy, yet wonderful springtime weather with all the kids in costume frolicking about all giddy for candy corn. It was a sorta idyllic now that I think about it, but then again I work on the Upper East Side, so in a way it's to be expected. On my way uptown things slowly changed and I was reminded of the Halloweens of my youth when boys and girls would fill balloons with Nair and launch them at girls with long hair. I'll never forget walking home from Girl Scouts and seeing this girl screaming with blood dripping from her cheek. The shell of an egg that was aimed right for her face had cut her eyeball. Her classmate had clearly hit his mark. The thrill of trick-or-treating came to an abrupt end when sometime in the early 80’s razors and pins kept turning up in the Milky Way and Snickers bars. And I won't even tell you how much I've always hated bobbing for apples. Even at 9 years old I knew that tub of water had to be mixed with all sorts of spittle and snot. If I wasn't the first to bob then I wasn't bobbing. Simple as that. So last night as I got to 116th and 3rd it was cool to see all the Latina mamis with their children out about getting goodies and laughing, but it was also disheartening to see the teenage boys lurking on the corner with their crates of eggs, wearing Skeletor masks or my favorite, the old man in the bodega who turned to me after playing his numbers and snarled "trick or treat baby" in my ear as I purchased my Guinness.
But I must say this Halloween was not at all bad because I had tix to see The Brand New Heavies at The Apollo and they were off the chain. Unfortunately I missed most of the opening act-- Amel Larrieux, who I absolutely love and respect. I heard the last two songs of her set—Get Up and Tell Me (from her Groove Theory days) and was so mad that I wasn't able to get there earlier to hear her entire set. Back in the day I worked with Amel as her publicist and can honestly say I never grew tired of seeing her live. She really puts every fiber of her being into singing each lyric. At the end of her set, her two daughters Sky and Sanji Rei came on stage. I tell you time really goes by so quickly. I feel like it was just yesterday that we were on the road and her girls were probably like 4 and 6 at the time and they were so shy. Well last night night dressed in Geisha Girl costumes they came out and sang the hook on Tell Me. It could not have been cuter!
The Heavies hit the stage around 10pm and did the damn thing. Yo, that N'Dea Davenport knows how to work an audience and make us crazy. She was whirling around, shimmying, and jumping up and down all while cocooned in this black patent leather cat suit outfit that she eventually ripped when bending over for her tambourine. She was fierce and no doubt had to be hot. At first I don't think the Apollo crowd was ready to get down and jam the way the Heavies are accustomed to, but by the time they did their current single "I Don’t Know Why" everyone was off their feet and literally dancing in the aisles. I didn't realized how much I missed that beautiful sweaty, funkdafied vibe you get from a really good live band. It is really a moment from an era on its way out the doors and outta NYC. With CB's closing last week and places like The Cooler, Tramps and Wetlands now but a memory it makes me sad knowing that the time I had last night-- feeding off the energy of a high energy funk soul band is something totally foreign to a whole generation of folk. Needless to say, when guitarist Simon Bartholomew handed me his yellow guitar pick as I stood right in front of the stage and said, "here's something to remember a cool Halloween night at The Apollo," I was feeling sorta like a groupie, but then I mostly felt nostalgic and inspired.