Boulevards Blew Away the Beachland
May 13th, 2018
Jamil Rashad, who performs as Boulevards, was my very first Funk concert. Hitting the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern Thursday evening, the gig was a lot more than what I was expecting.
Boulevards, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, is a stylish man. Sporting those reflective round sunglasses he was a sight to behold. He quietly walked on stage with his drummer, then all of a sudden a blast of energy kicked off the show.
Boulevards' incredible voice penetrated my skin, grabbed my bones, and shook them. Hard. It was difficult taking photos because my hands didn't want to be steady, they wanted to groove! If Boulevards' inspirations Prince and Rick James were there, they would have been proud. The production was quality, the lyrics weren't mumbled or nonsensical like so many of this artist's contemporaries. Some songs were cheeky but we believe the main theme of the night was "funky sex appeal." Who knows, maybe he was just sweaty and didn't want to ruin his clothes, but somehow he managed to end up shirtless... and no one was complaining.
But if you managed to stop dancing and watch Jamil's performance, you'd notice him dancing towards the drummer as well. After all, what would Funk be without the bass line? Steady beats pounded through the Beachland Ballroom, giving us all rhythm in which to shake. There was a never a time Boulevards stopped moving and grooving. Mixed in with his funky lyrics were captivating screams I've only heard in classic movies.
Boulevards is a performer with non-stop, intense energy that infects the soul. Funk isn't dead while we still have performers who can deliver catchy lyrics, thumping bass lines, and countless hooks to keep the kid inside all of us out past dawn. We hope Boulevards inspires the next generation of Funk as much as he's inspired us here at North Coast Music Beat.
And, of course, never stop never stop grooving.
Review and photos by Courtney A Ramey