LPR Presents Sunday Night Soul & Cocoa

By Andrew Andrews

Donald King (no relation) performs "Please Rewind" at Threes Brewing for LPR Presents Sunday Night Soul & Cocoa

If you’re like us, you probably don’t get to (Le) Poisson Rouge as often as you might enjoy. The good news is, they have a bit of an outreach program going, in the form of LPR Presents events at other venues around town. To check it out, we headed to Threes Brewing in Gowanus for Sunday Night Soul & Cocoa, LPR’s January residency with complimentary chocolates and hot chocolate served by Raaka Chocolate in nearby Red Hook.

Let’s start with a review of the hot chocolate, since that’s the first thing you encounter when you get to the performance space. It’s absolutely the thickest, most chocolaty hot chocolate you’ll ever encounter—like melting a chocolate bar and drinking it before it turns solid again. When you grab a cup and carry it through the doors to the music (after tasting some of the free samples of over half-a-dozen varieties of chocolate), you’ll find a show that starts pretty much on-time—a welcome change from most events in Brooklyn (and increasingly more in Manhattan), where the posted start time is pretty much a suggestion of when you should leave home.

Tonight’s first act was Sarah Elizabeth Charles, whose band previewed songs they’ll be recording in a few weeks. The sound is somehow familiar yet original at the same time, occasionally haunting, and she closed her set singing March to Revolution over a chorus provided by the entire audience. At the other end of the show, Amy Leon performed the unique fusion of music and poetry she’s developed a reputation for at shows all over the city and beyond. And in between the two, Akie Bermiss delivered a set with only his piano to accompany him (and guest vocalist Candice Corbin for a single duet), covering a range of songs from Frankie Valley’s Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and Shania Twain’s You’re Still the One (both of which he made entirely his own) to his original “interstellar alien love songs” such as Medicine and Send It On.

The highlight of the evening, however, was the relatively unknown Donald King—no relation to the boxing promoter—who stole the show with a sound and presence that deserve a much larger venue than the tiny room at Threes. Between covers of Chris Brown and Sam Smith, King (no relation) premiered some original music performed live for the first time in NYC, including Press Rewind—which blew the crowd away—and Love Me, which we managed to catch on video. Bridging any gaps between 1980’s hard rock, early 90’s grunge and the kind of powerful R&B that we haven’t heard since the turn of the century, this Don King (no relation☺) is hard to find online but totally worth seeking out live; his band (Vin Landolfi, Derick McElveen Jr, Gabriel Otero and Chad Selph) is equally talented!

If it sounds like we enjoyed Sunday Night Soul & Cocoa, then we’ve made the right impression. In fact, the only complaint we have about this show is that there wasn’t enough seating—only a bench along one wall and a few cabaret tables in front of the stage. Add a few rows of chairs to help the audience hold up through three hours of great music, and there would be nothing left to fault. All the same, we’re eager to check out more LPR Presents events to come, so stay tuned for more reviews! 4

Andrew Andrews attended LPR Presents Sunday Night Soul & Cocoa at Threes Brewing in Brooklyn on Sunday, January 22, 2017 @ 8:00pm to write this review.