Dec. 9, 2017
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
By Phillip Smith; Dec. 10, 2017
From Memphis, Tennessee, Southern Avenue is one of the newest bands to record for the iconic Stax Records label. Saturday, December 9th, this magnificent quintet brought their illustrious brand of soul to a packed house at CSPS in Cedar Rapids amid their seemingly non-stop tour to promote their remarkable self-titled record. Fronted by powerhouse lead singer Tierinii Jackson, the band also consists of her sister Tikyra Jackson on drums, guitarist Ori Naftaly, bassist Daniel McKee, and keyboardist extraordinaire Jeremy Powell.
Southern Avenue served up two delicious sets of music, covering mostly songs off their new album. The soulful sweet vocals Tierinii delivers on “What Did I Do” was so right-on. Her vocals on “It’s Gonna Be Alright” were angelic, and the keyboard performance from Powell was captivating. I was so happy to hear them perform “Don’t Give Up”. That’s such a terrific song. It’s what drew me to the band in the first place this past spring.
Their fabulous and funky take on the Beatles’ “Come Together” caught me entirely by surprise. Naftaly’s guitar was smokin’. It was a special treat to hear their covers of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”, and Bill Withers’ “Use Me” too They were both soul-dripping performances. I loved every bit of it.
Southern Avenue ranks right up there among my favorite new bands this year, and I sure hope to see them again soon.
* All Photos by Phillip Smith