Khari Wendell McClelland At The Queen Elizabeth Theatre

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Photo by Laura Murray

Anticipation was booming at the Sunday night Vancouver Jazz fest event that quickly sold out at the beautiful Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The mostly local and always brilliant Khari took the stage before Ms.Lauryn Hill’s performance. McClelland is a hypnotic performer,he embodies the essence that commands large audiences just like legends such as James Brown or Mavis Staples.His voice is an experience,like swimming in the ocean or eating chocolate; it’s endlessly enjoyable and makes you want more immediately. I witnessed various audience members closing their eyes to soak in every second of his velvet and virtuosic pipes.The majority of his set list consisted of songs from his new solo debut album “Fleeting Is The Time” which is a true marvel and belongs in your album collection right now.His homemade songs are inspiring,honest,real and relatable in ways that stir one’s emotions in all the right directions.He makes people feel heard while they hear him, like a modern day music healer.He offered generous explanations of songs before he performed them with his profoundly talented band.This was most notable on his song “Damned” in which he asked the audience how they would spend the last week of their life to which one brave fan shouted “I would do this”. He also encouraged everyone to stay strong and tenacious when the going gets tough with the moving “Roll On”. He covered Bowie’s “Oh You Pretty Things” remarkably well,he didn’t merely hit the complex notes of the song he nailed them and resurfaced the power of Bowie’s voice.He shared his plans to travel to Jamaica this next week to work with youth through the Bob Marley Foundation. McClelland is filled with passion,bursting with love and booming with talent.His performance was my personal highlight of the night.He was gracious and generous,leaving the audience wanting more but gifted them with something they won’t soon forget.Do yourself a favour and check Fleeting Is The time and see this man perform any chance you get.

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