Show Recap: Goapele at Yoshi’s

May 4, 2011

By Camille Hearst

On Saturday, April 30th, San Francisco concert-goers gathered at Yoshi’s on Fillmore in The City for an evening with the lovely Goapele. Glowing in vintage bejeweled earrings, an 80s inspired black tiered skirt, and a partially sheer black lacy top, the South African beauty sashayed to-and-fro in front of a tall vase of lilies and a sold-out audience for her fourth appearance in a 3 night run at Yoshi’s.

In front of a four-piece band featuring Oakland native Kev Choice on keys, the (relatively) new mom kept men and women alike enraptured with a lineup of songs recalling the heights of love, the depths of heartbreak, and the pursuit of dreams.

Opening the night with a sweet number, the set moved on to a song described as indicative of Goapele’s moody nature as a Cancer: “Catch 22 (damned if I don’t, damned if I do).” Beefed up with the guitar hook from Dr. Dre’s “Xxplosive,” and later incorporating a sample from Kanye West’s “Devil in a New Dress,” the rendition was unique and original; heads began nodding across the room immediately.

Followed by recent radio jam “Milk & Honey,” with its mesmerizing hook, “just lay back, relax,” the tone was set for what was to be an evening of stellar performances.

Introducing the next song as one written while in college, Goapele revealed the long-distance relationship that inspired “Romantic,” one of my favorite songs. Breathing new life into this song from Goapele’s second album, Even Closer, was a nice Bootsy Collins sample from “I’d Rather be With You.”

The band demonstrated their talent all night, not only by weaving new elements into some of Goapele’s existing hits, but also by shining in their own right. Performing “Different,” which usually features Bay Area rapper Clyde Carson, the live instruments added a level of complexity to the sound typically not-experienced on a simple track.

After debuting a new song, called “Play,” Goapele simply shone on an a cappella, stripped down rendition of Sam Cook’s timeless “A Change is Gonna Come.”

Next, Goapele switched things up by bringing out LA native Matteo for a duet; the pair covered a rendition of Lil Wayne and Robin Thicke’s “Please Don’t Shoot Me Down.” Matteo provided some nice eye-candy for the ladies, while his smooth crooning nicely complemented Goapele’s silky soaring voice.

One of my personal highlights of Goapele’s past performances is her cover of The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Maps.” This song is a great sing-along for those that know it, however it was ditched this year in favor of a different sing-along, this one from the 90s: Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares to You.” Though well received by the crowd, this writer prefers the edgier indie-rock lean for the Bay Area songstress.

Attempting to end the evening with the quintessential Bay Area classic “Closer” and medley of Mary J. Blige’s “My Life”/ Roy Ayer’s “Everybody Loves the Sunshine,” the crowd was left in the jazz club on its feet, cheering and waving for more.

Unable to resist the call for encore, and further showing her deep influences in diva R&B, the performers obliged the encore with Chaka Khan’s classic “Sweet Thang” before closing with the soul-inspired “Love Me Right.” Goapele, with performances like this, we will do nothing but.

posted: May 4th, 2011, 10:33pm

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