Musiq (@MusiqSoulchild) brings Magiq to Showcase Live

Being in the flash point of the public’s musical consciousness can be intoxicating. But that mainstream puppy love is fleeting and its pursuit can be maddening for an artist. Sometimes it feels like there is no country for art in these streets, B. This past Thursday, soul singer Musiq Soulchild showed during his nearly 2 hour set how mastering your art instead of following trends can keep you around for the long run.

With his 6th major label album, MUSIQINTHEMAGIQ, the Philly native’s doing what he has always done. Over the years, he’s made a name for himself crafting soulful R&B music with a much more subtle nod to his Hip Hop roots than many of his contemporaries. Think more raw truth telling than bottle poppin’ and all night bang-a-thons.

On this night he provided a very welcomed alternative to the playlist of your local Hot, Power or Jamz for a sold out crowd made up of couples on dates and ladies enjoying a “Girls’ Night Out”.

Starting with a rocky version of “Caught Up”, he set the tone that this wouldn’t be a night of karaoke versions of his hits. Even with a genre bending start, Musiq was in classic soul man mode. Clad in a tasteful grey 3 piece suit, in contrast to his 4 piece band’s fresh summer white linens, he moved deftly across the stage and through his catalog. His energy and passion were applied equally to the ballads and up-tempo numbers like “Just Friends”.

Good music in an able showman’s hands can be powerful. His command of the audience was never clearer than when he encouraged the crowd to join him as he two stepped during dance floor ready “Anything”. Nothing’s more telling of the power of music than seeing 1100 people dancing in unison without benefit of “The Electric Slide”.

The seamless transition between old and new material speaks as much to the songs as it does the band’s proficiency as a unit. Musiq Soulchild has constructed a canon of work that maintains its freshness even after its album expiration date. Much like a relationship, a Musiq set list will take you through a rollercoaster of emotions. He’s incredibly adept at conveying the highs and lows of love. In his band’s able hands the crowd got what felt like a collection of rarities, alternative takes and mash-ups that touched and satisfied diehard fans without being stale. And by the time he reached the ballad “Love” with the crowd drowning him out at points, even the coldest heart was into drunken text/BBM mode.

Art and commerce have always been uneasy bedfellows especially in a digital age. A long winded mid-show soliloquy about the effects of the current music business climate brought down the energy of the evening. That and the prerequisite fake encore were his only real missteps. (Attention artists. We know you’re coming back. Just tell us you have to take a quick bio break.) Fredrick Douglas oratory leanings aside, Musiq showed how he has grabbed platinum plaques and built a fiercely loyal fan base without too much compromise. Over and over we see artists of every genre chase the heat. Tonight on stage, Musiq displayed what happens when you are heat.

Click HERE to check KillerBoomBox’s conversation with Musiq Soulchild on the state of R&B, how to build a great stage show and his latest album, MUSIQINTHEMAGIQ.