Concert Review: The Soul Rebels are Joined by an Explosive line-up at Joy Theatre


The fire, the passion, the bass thumping in your bones, the jazz swirling underneath your flesh. The Soul Rebels’ performance at Joy Theatre is one I will remember for years to come. Their effortless sound is uniquely New Orleans with second line progressions a heavy undertone to their lyrical melodies, but they are skilled to play any genre of music. They are known for their hip-hop heavy sets and this concert was not only filled to the brim with hip-hop jazz, but was overflowing with performances from Curren$y, Talib Kweli, and Robert Glasper. The set began with original songs from The Soul Rebels like “Rebelosis” and “Quiet Storm”, but the real magic transpired when they linked up with their dynamic line-up of guests. They brought home Nola native Curren$y who fired up the crowd and prepared us for the body-rattling tunes to come. I was often caught off guard by the Soul Rebel’s ability to reproduce studio-production sounds effortlessly while paying homage to brass band jazz styles. This enlivened the crowd even more as we belted out the lyrics to “If I Ruled the World” and “Crush on You” by The Notorious BIG.

Solely out of bias, I lost my shit when Robert Glasper teamed up with Talib Kweli for “Get By”. For one, that song was a warm familiarity of my childhood listening to hip-hop with my sister, but it also resonated spiritually since we exist in a global context where most people are trying to “get-by” in life. It was an urge to keep living and enjoying life. The crowd did just that! We were even graced with some bomb vocals from Lisa Fisher, which you can check out in my video clip above, and reminded me of the multifaceted nature of jazz. It can chameleon into any genre needed and velvet the voices of Em-Cees and vocalists.

As BBC quoted, The Soul Rebels are “the missing link between Public Enemy and Louis Armstrong”. They effortlessly tell the story of how Jazz metamorphosed into hip-hop by embodying its process from co-coon to butterfly. Check out the clip above to catch a glimpse of the explosive performance.

This was my first official concert alone and I was so excited. Usually when I go to concerts, my social anxiety kicks in and I begin to analyze if my friend(s) actually likes the artist as much as I do, are they comfortable with me dancing or closing my eyes through songs. All of these things typically run through my mind prior to a concert, but I knew two things were certain about this performance: bye-bye to my voice and hello to my dancing shoes. Just to confirm; I woke up sounding like somebody’s uncle who loves E &J and my ankles were hella’ weak.