Aloe Blacc & the Grand Scheme
ACL Live Shots
Reviewed by Thomas Fawcett, Fri., Sept. 23, 2011
Aloe Blacc & the Grand SchemeZilker Park, Sept. 17
California soul man Aloe Blacc promised to get down like James Brown and bring the thunder like Stevie Wonder. He delivered on both counts, although his high-gloss R&B – brimming with polish and positive vibrations – leans less on the Godfather of Soul and more on the man that graced the same stage seven hours later. Rocking an Easter-egg-blue button-up and slick vest and fedora, the former underground hip-hopper led his nattily attired Grand Scheme through debut LP Good Things. The singer floated down Sunset Boulevard on "Green Lights" and asked the hard questions on ballad "If I" before parting the crowd for a Soul Train dance line. Finally launching crowd-pleaser "I Need a Dollar," Blacc and band flipped the hard-luck tune into a reggae riff on "No Woman No Cry" and Hall & Oates' "Maneater." "It doesn't matter the culture or color," Blacc declared. "It's all soul music."