Seeing the Jaz, funk, hip-hop freestyle group, Liquid Soul at 210 Live in Highwood was, to use the vernacular of the 70’s – a “real trip”. The large screens flanking the stage scrolled through a series of psychedelic swirls of color that would have been right at home on the set of Laugh-In, yet MC Brain “MCB” Quarles was laying down some very modern beats.
The North Shore venue, conveniently located near the Metra station I’ll add since one of my friends came in on the train, has had several lives. From a historical bowling alley to a restaurant with music, to what is now a high-tech-enhanced music venue with a homey living room feel. In addition to regular club tables and chairs, there were some seating groupings of couches and chairs with funky décor, right out of the 70’s. I would not have been surprised to see the ‘leg’ lamp’ from “A Christmas Story” sitting alongside the very funky chandeliers.
What I was surprised by was how Liquid Soul, founded in Chicago around 1993 and regulars at the Elbow Room, commanded the stage. With a powerful horn section that included Doug Corcoran trumpet (also on keyboards), John Janowiak on trombone, and Mars Williams (Founder) on saxophone they dominated the stage. Add to that Rick Showalter on bass, Tommy Klein on Guitar and Devin Staples on drums and you get the distinct feeling that the group reinvents itself on the regular. Vocals were also notable with hip-hop beats blending nicely with traditional tunes.
Add to that great food and a hopping dance floor and it was well worth the trip to Highwood. Fun evening, fun venue, hope to enjoy both again very soon.