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BLACK WEIRDO THE PARTY with DJ BAMBII, THEESatisfaction, JUSMONI and AYO LEILANI at the Steady Cafe, Friday, January 11. Rating: NNN
A crucial misstep at Friday night's Black Weirdo The Party, hosted by Catherine Harris-White - one half of Seattle alt hip-hop/R&B duo THEESatisfaction - was the decision to push back performances until just before 1:30 am. Of course, it's hard to really blame White and DJ Bambii (Toronto's Kirsten Azan) for not relinquishing their powers; those in attendance had filled up the dance floor and were lost in a blur of hip-hop and r&b classics - with plenty of Beyoncé thrown into the mix.
The non-performance highlight of the night was the collective bounce felt when Bambii dropped Queen Bey's Flawless. While White was without her THEESatisfaction musical partner Stasia (who according to her Twitter account was absent because of the flu), the vibe was still strong. After six successful Black Weirdo nights in Seattle, Oakland and Brooklyn, THEESatisfaction know how to make a party pop, even if this one was at times confusing (the performers and DJs could have been introduced and hyped a lot more formally, so that you knew who you were dancing to).
When they finally did appear, singers JusMoni and Ayo Leilani both gave solid performances, making it a shame that they played to a half-full venue as people presumably left to catch the TTC. (To be fair, out-of-towners might not be familiar with that Toronto subway deadline.) Those who stuck around were treated to JusMoni providing a sultry soundtrack for cuffing season that was rife with longing, while Ayo Leilani made the case for why she could have headlined an evening solo. Beautiful voices and great energy - such a shame they weren't given their moments much earlier, with more people present to enjoy.