Georgia’s six-member Arrested Development has a convincing claim as the leader of this movement, Gee Street/Island’s P.M. Dawn not withstanding.
Relying entirely on material from its fine Chrysalis debut, “3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life,” Arrested Development conducted a spiritual and musical revival at the Palace that would surely give even the most flamboyant Baptist minister fits of envy.
“People Everyday,” with its sharp Sly & the Family Stone sample, the funky “Mama’s Always on Stage” and the band’s hit “Tennessee” were the group’s standouts at the Palace. Led by vocalists Speech and Dione, the group’s funk/gospel/dance mixture was engaging in its delivery and affecting in its message.
The universal-empowerment message of RCA’s Me Phi Me was also inspirational. Me’s smooth, reggae-inspired style and stimulating news-of-the-world themes struck nerves.
The uplifting “Dream of You,” the communal “Not My Brotha” (a song for “those who are positive, against those who aren’t”) and single “Sad New Day” were all winners.
Me Phi Me’s retro-reggae “Black Sunshine” sampled both Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2.” Not your usual grouping, but then Me Phi Me and his band are not your usual group.
The evening’s opening slot was filled by new Capitol signee Subject to Change. This very expressive quintet is led by Cree Franks, an (apparently) ultra-feminist, anti-George Bush singer reminiscent of a latter-day Janis Joplin. Possibly a name to file away, Subject to Change plans to release its debut early next year.