After interviewing local R&B singer Lynee' Michelle a few months ago, Saturday night at 5 Seasons was the first time I've had a chance to see her perform live. The event she was headlining was titled A Love Affair: An Evening of Eloquence and Entertainment, and if nothing else it was a refreshing change of pace from the usual 5 Seasons show, with its 6 p.m. start and a relaxed, classy atmosphere. A stand-up comic, Skiba, hosted the proceedings and kept the mood light, while a variety of performers of varying quality graced the stage before and after Michelle.
One of the most impressive acts was Chanova, a female rapper who showed up in a silky dress, and proceeded to tear it up on the mic when even the host expected her to sing. Mr. C-N.I.L.E., a gospel hip-hop artist who rapped (and sang Auto-Tuned hooks) about Jesus, was unfortunately the kind of spiritually oriented artist whose message seemed to take priority over the music so much that he'd barely fit his lyrics into a meter, his syllables awkwardly spilling out with no sense of flow. Then there was the girl whose show CD kept skipping, the less said about, the better.
When it was time for Michelle herself to perform, she opened her set with the brash "I Know U Want It," from her recent album Love, Lynee' Michelle, before moving into the sultry "Take Me Out Dancing." For the latter, she got a lot of crowd participation for the song's call-and-response hook, and proved that she could pull off the album's most impressive high note live perfectly. After just a couple more songs, she brought out the DJ Booman-produced club banger "Slow It Down" to end things with a killer track, and then let a few more hit and miss performers bat cleanup.