| James McMurtry will be at the Floore Country Store, 9pm Friday, January 30.
The Cameo Theater in St. Paul's Square, which reopened in recent months, has had a much-needed makeover since its short-lived days as the inconsistent dance club Space. On January 23, the venue brought the lights down to clusters of candle-lit tables and made for a cozy evening of R&B and nu-soul with Dwele.
Despite a steep ticket price ($20) and scant promotion for Dwele's first San Antonio appearance, there was a decent turnout for the show, which also featured local favorite Mojoe on the bill. The live hip-hop band warmed the crowd with their signature "classic ghetto soul," featuring MCs Easy Lee and T.R.E. Their performance was followed by a surprise solo set by Slum Village collaborator DJ Dez, which incited an impromptu soul train on the dance floor. Dez later played congas for the five-piece band (which also included an excellent female harmony singer) backing Dwele, who serenaded the ladies with selections from his 2003 album, Subject.
But by the time the Detroit artist was closing his set with an encore medley of Motown hits, the audience had dwindled to the diehard women (and a handful of their men) on the floor and a smattering of seated couples and barflies. It wasn't that people didn't care to collect their money's worth; the problem is symptomatic of an audience unfamiliar with a promising soul performer who, despite a deal with Virgin Records, remains an underground figure largely ignored by radio. (This past November, Slum Village and Dwele played to a crowd of fewer than 100 people at Antone's in Austin. The intimate performance was well worth the ticket price, but again, the promotion was poor for what should have been a much more enthusiastically received show.)
Here's hoping that NVisage Entertainment, the production group that sponsored the Dwele show in SA, will work to better promote promised future appearances by national artists with little mainstream renown - including Floetry and Musiq.
Closed For Remodeling
If you didn't catch Mojoe at the Dwele show or at their weekly Wednesday night gig at Jewels on January 28, and you're jonesin' for a local R&B fix, you might find yourself suffering from withdrawal for a while. Jewels (5500 Babcock, 691-3000) will be closed through February for remodeling. Resident acts - including the newly added DJs Scuba Gooding Sr. and Kiko - will return to the stage in late February or early March. •