Black Flower, Raleigh
October 27, 2009
This was a touch into the atypical for my norms, sitting long side in a plush Hollywood style half circle booth, feet up and sipping a Maker's to a quaint acoustic pair of exotic tigress' on a cold rainy Tuesday night in Glenwood South's newest rock haunt, Black Flower . Gracing the microphone were Ontario born and Hong Kong native singer-songwriter Reign Lee and her wise-cracking brit side kick Sue Sherman who were elegantly shredding down the parts of Reign's bountifully arranged electric album Broken Skylines into ballad-esque parts proportioned for a meandering fall US tour as a duo.
Reign having played twenty-four hours prior in Chapel Hill at The Cave with a couple of locals caught my attention and I marked to return the following day in Raleigh to watch and listen, this time with a hood pulled over my brow blinding the distractions...quite in opposite of the night before where the welcome ruckus of loud friends and whose turn it is to buy a round pulled attentions away from the more important darkening delivery of a bright presence adorning the stage. Given the chance to listen was to be given reward as the most interesting and enjoyable aspects of Reign's show are those subtler ones that are only discovered when the listener is in the same mind space as the performer. Soothing baritone demeanor tells you a story with calm anticipation of its cracking and shooting squalls of vocal range as Reign drives a point through the mic like a stiletto. Nuanced to the untrained eye is the lanky, clever, and delicate Sue Sherman's fret board aerobatics so complexly arranged and executed upon a subtle acoustic guitar that my mind processed its potential and transformed its input from acoustic warmth into vintage tube grind as if I had just upgraded the circuits in my head with the latest Line 6 guitar amp modeling software. Sue was working the scales like a possessed seamstress and my mind was wrapped in the threads.
Their set ended with modest applause from those few whose eyes followed the show and the chattery excitement of the walk in crowd who were lured from the street by Black Flower's intriguing rock venue meets night club atmosphere. Shortly there after Reign, Sue and I sat down over scotch and hand rolled cigarettes with Black Flower co-owner/manager Jamie Saad and chatted the night away. Having been my first visit to Black Flower my initial comment to Jamie was, "Impressed." As my glass sat on an ornately decorated booth table top next to bold black-flowered wall designs both designed and administered by the prolific Raleigh art-trepreneur Adam Peele, I noted that while this is indeed a fully chartered local rock venue, the high def plasmas on the wall and red velvet ropes out front made claim to it being a special one also. Everyone reading this blog, present company included, has a fondness for the authenticity and edginess of our favorite dingy unkempt and rocked out bars but the same crowd may also agree that the "something special" that is happening with the music scene around this town will continue to drive more talent to the stages and the followings must grow along with them. This means friends and folks who don't currently spend their entertainment pesos on local music need to be enchanted to do so and these favorite friends of ours may not feel so comfortable as you or I in stepping through the gates of the parallel universe that is The Cave. Black Flower being inspired by the creativity and ingenuity of the local music culture and with a focus on promoting the local music culture with every fiber of their being...while at the same time being posh and inviting the opposite sub-cultures, has the potential to introduce our music to new audiences.
Jamie's effort is to expand upon the expectations of a music venue. Black Flower now in operation for a year, has aspirations around the stage that are true as an arrow in favor of pushing, pulling, and promoting small local talent to reach their next level what ever it may be. An Internet Cafe model with click-and-mortar musician e-tailing is being planned and will cater to a local musician culture which is dizzy from trying to reach their local audience with the amazon/itunes planets should it be developed and launched. Pure focus on original local bands in sacrifice of the cash machine cover band racket that engulfs Glenwood South proves that their heart is in the right place and gives a new property to the indie music sub-culture in this crowd swelled part of the Raleigh monopoly board. Keep an eye on the Black Flower music calendar and support them as much as possible, from what I gathered Tuesday night they're here to support us. --Carrboro Ninja
Black Flower bar
the signature pen work of local designer-clothing label artist Adam Peele such as this ornately designed booth table top can be found throughout Black Flower's decor, both on-line and in-side. Visit Adam's webstore to view his Ahpeele designer clothing line; http://www.ahpeele.bigcartel.com