After 7 Performs Timeless Music In Chicago

On August 30, 2018, in Red Hot Radio, by Wide View Publishing

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BY YAKIRA LEVI |

 

After a 20-year hiatus the harmonic R&B group, After 7 is back on the charts with another studio album, entitled Timeless. Runnin Out, made it to No. 3 on the R&B Charts. If I, written and produced by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Daryl Simmons, is currently being played on radio stations everywhere. This past Friday, After 7 performed in Chicago. The performance proved that the music of After 7, really is timeless.

 

August 24, 2018, it is 7:30 PM, and there is a long line in front of The Promontory Chicago, in Hyde Park. Men and women are dressed to impress and waiting patiently for the doors to open. Fans walked in, to the soulful sounds of R&B music and the distribution of orange Hennessy promotional samples. Fans found their assigned seats and the concert started promptly at 8:00 PM.

 

The show starts with the Band on stage. Keyboard, guitar, bass, drums, and a saxophonist who also played bongos, congas, and chimes. An instrumental of the Chicago Bulls theme song came on with vocals introducing the stars of the show. After 7 takes the stage and the crowd applauds.

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Kevon Edmonds, Melvin Edmonds [brothers of Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds] and Keith Mitchell [friend from Indiana University] are the original members of the group. Melvin [also known for his roles in The Five Heartbeats and the film Soul Food] no longer performs at shows with After 7. Melvin Edmond’s son Jason Edmonds performs in his father’s place. When Kevon, Jason, and Keith took the stage, the audience embraced Jason. Despite the age difference, Jason fit right in.

 

“Can’t Stop, How I Feel….” The Crowd went wild with excitement as After 7 belted out the lyrics to Can’t Stop. They also performed Heat of the Moment, One Night, I Want You, and then After 7 jumped off the stage and danced with audience members as they sang Nights Like This, from the 5 Heartbeats movie soundtrack. If that wasn’t exciting enough, something super special happened next.

 

The song Earned it, by The Weekend came on through the speakers. After 7, showed the audience how R&B music has just evolved. They sang a few lyrics of the first verse of, Cause I Love You, by Lenny Williams and explained how Earned It, was the same song. Audience members screamed once they made the connection. They also got an awesome response from the Chicago audience on their performance of the Curtis Mayfield song – Diamond In The Back.

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After 7, sang a medley of old hits arranged as one song. The song bytes included -Baby I’m For Real [by The Originals], Natural High [originally performed by BloodStone], You Got Me Going In Circles [Friends of Distinction]. The medley ending in classic harmonic Doo-Wop fashion.

 

Kevon Edmonds spoke about the successes of After 7, before their 20-year hiatus and the climb of their current album, Timeless. According to Billboard, the songs Too Late, Let Me Know and I Want You — peaked at top 10 positions on the R&B charts. Running Out, climbed to the No. 3 position on the charts. “The Dragon that got in the way [of After 7 being in spots 1 and 2], Kevon said, was” No. 1… and the beat dropped for the Bruno Mars song- That’s What I Like. Kevon said “the No. 2 song was”… and the music for Stay Woke by Childish Gambino came on [Redbone (Stay Woke) peaked at No. 2]. After 7, is asking everyone to support the new single, If I. “Call the radio station and request the song- If I, said Kevon “Chicago, we need your support”.

 

The closing song- Ready Or Not, had fans screaming with pleasure. The lead was sung by Jason Edmonds, but the women screamed like he was his father. Even though Melvin Edmonds was replaced by his son Jason, the trio still sounded impeccable. I did miss Melvin Edmonds just a little bit though. Melvin’s voice holds a deep sensual frequency that his son Jason’s voice does not emit. I may have been the only person to mention the difference. After 7, brought the show to a climax when they passed out roses during the final song.

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The audio quality of the performance was good. There was not a huge difference between the studio mastered version of the songs performed, but like all studio projects, the actual cd recording was a little better. For the most part, the live performance stayed true to the recorded songs. The audience loved After 7, and I enjoyed the show tremendously.

 

There were screams from the audience at the beginning of hit songs, claps and shouts at old-school dance moves, rushing down the isles to dance with After 7, when they jumped off stage to interact with the crowd, and some lightweight pushing and shoving when they passed out long-stemmed red roses to the women at the end of the show. The only thing I did not like about the show, was the shoes that After 7, wore.

 

The men of After 7, wore gym shoes with spikes and bedazzled ornaments on them. I would have preferred to see them in dress shoes, or footwear that was less high-school styled. The shoes made the middle-aged men of  After 7, look like they were trying too hard to look younger. The music was great, the band awesome, and the After 7, performance was phenomenal! Everything about the show was great- except for those shoes.

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Also published in The Chicago Defender. Feel free to view online: After 7 Performs Timeless Music In Chicago

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