June 21, 2012
Celebrate Brooklyn, New York
Article and photos by Ernest Barteldes
On what turned out to be one of the warmest June nights on record for the city of New York, the city’s own Lattice Crawford took the stage as the opening act, joking that even though the audience was not there to see her, they might as well be stuck with her ‘for the next half hour or so.” But what a journey it was, her music is deeply rooted into a more traditional Gospel format, but she does not ignore the evolution of the music at all, and inserts elements of soul and pop into her devotional music.
Unlike many Gospel singers on an outdoor concert setting, Crawford was not shy to talk about her faith between songs. At one point, she mentioned “I am the church, and I am the verse” as she introduced a more up-tempo tune. At the end of the set, she was joined by her husband Jeff for a beautiful duet whose lyrics spoke of ‘singing hallelujah’ at all times.
After a brief intermission, the duo Mary Mary (sisters Erica Atkins-Campbell and Trecina “Tina” Atkins-Campbell) came on with their trademark blend of hip-hop, neo-soul and Gospel that allowed them to cross over into different genres without losing touch with their religious message. A very pregnant Tina Campell (who is as of this writing expecting her 5th child) didn’t seem to lose an ounce of her energy and pranced around stage with her sister as if it were just another night. Their harmonies were great, and their five-piece band was in great shape.
The set was jam-packed with hits, but they took a break during the concert to look back into their origins, playing some more traditional music blended with messages of hope and faith. The audience sang along with them during many of these numbers, and Tina took some time to specifically tell the audience of how insecure she had felt about being on stage that night in light of her previous pregnancy (she delivered a premature baby back then) , telling everyone how reassuring the power of prayer was for her that very evening. They ended that section of the performance by singing the refrain of Alicia Keys’ “No One” adapted to their own ideals, and then resumed the more pop-inflected material from more recent albums.
They closed with “The Real Party,” an up-tempo number that also served to showcase the band’s individual talents. It was an inspiring performance that brought many in the crowd to tears – both their musical talents and spirituality if very palpable, and it was a memorable night for all.
Watch a brief fan video from the evening