by Petula Caesar
Tickets for the next Purple Honey show, Purple Honey XV, taking place on Sunday, September 14th go on sale today – in fact you can purchase them right now at Event Brite by clicking here. . You may be asking yourself “what is Purple Honey?” “Would I like it?” “Would I want to go?” I can answer with a very resounding ‘YES’, because I was fortunate enough to attend the last Purple Honey XIV show on Sunday, June 15th (Father’s Day) at Magooby’s Joke House, located at 9603 Deereco Road in Timonium.
Purple Honey is a variety show featuring spoken word, live music and comedy. This formula has been attempted by various promoters and purveyors of live entertainment in the area, but Kier Johnson and his team have hit on a winning formula that combines all these elements successfully. After having Purple Honey at various locations over the past few years, he has found a great home for it at Magooby’s, which offers just the right about of plush comfort, sexiness, seats, space, and accommodations for sound, lighting, drinks, and food. The event offers VIP options, which I did partake of at the Purple Honey show I went to — which included premium seating at the front of the venue, a huge bottle of Ciroc on the table with setups, and a great meal. Purple Honey XIV’s Father’s Day Review featured popular vocalist Marcell Russell backed up by members of the jazz band The Fruition Experience, spoken word poet 13 of Nazareth, and comedian Larry Lancaster (who usually serves as host with local media personality Ellen Gee, but was the featured comic in place of Mike Brooks). Ellen Gee served as hostess solo for this Purple Honey, and she was quite effective, quick witted and enjoyable.
Although I’ve been a fan of Marcell Russell’s for quite some time, I had never seen him perform live. He was the first performer, and he was an excellent choice for this Father’s Day tribute show — his set was a perfectly blended combination of song, ministry and testimony. His vocals are a masterful combination of traditional soul music raw hardcore crooning carefully balanced alongside experienced and precise vocal control and range. He emoted excellently through the music, which is the foundation of all great singing, but he always controlled his voice, even at the peak of his songs. He did all original music in his set, and the audience was fully engaged and entertained throughout.
13 of Nazareth was next up. I hadn’t seen 13 perform in some time, and I wasn’t entirely sure if he was a good choice for this kind of event. 13’s poetry at times has an otherworldly and challenging quality that requires the listener to stretch beyond their typical thought patterns — which is fine if you’re performing for an audience willing to do that. But 13 of Nazareth has become engaging in a very down-to-earth, easy-going kind of way. The poetry still exists on a very special rarified plane, but his presentation of his work is more grounded and helps the audience’s comprehension climb to a place where it can appreciate his genius. His set was also engaging and entertaining, and I enjoyed seeing the growth in his work as a spoken word poet. (And a special shoutout to his lovely and very smiley wife KaNikki Jakarta — when I see improvements in a married man I always like to give the wives their due, because I know they had SOMETHING to do with it!)
Next came the intermission/dance portion of Purple Honey, led by DJ Lady Mysterious. She set things off with 12 intense minutes of partying that the crowd clearly enjoyed and set them up perfectly for the final act of the night, Larry Lancaster.
Larry Lancaster closed out the show. All the words I know that mean funny as all hell just seem so useless when talking about him. He’s funny as all hell, yes, but as is the case with all great comedians, it is the truth and common humanity behind the jokes that trigger your laughter. That is exactly what Larry has learned to master — he shows you the funny, the truthfulness and the humanity all at the same time. So even when he’s commenting on unpleasant things, or picking on people in the audience, it always stays funny at its core. Now don’t get me wrong — Larry’s commentary can cut when he wants it to, but just like Marcell has mastered his singing and 13 has mastered his spoken word, Larry has mastered his comedy to the point that he controls it effortlessly. He is almost like a surgeon at work, sharp timing ever present, placing just the right line, or voice inflection where it should be to draw the biggest laughs. His set was a great way to end the night, along with Kier asking the fathers to come to the stage to take a group picture in honor of the day after Larry’s set.
Purple Honey is a dynamic live show that is definitely worth your time and your money. A good time is pretty much a guarantee. And tickets are on sale NOW for the next show on Sunday September 14, 2014 at Magooby’s. Don’t miss another one, and maybe I’ll see you there! You can also get a taste of what Purple Honey is at their website, visit their You Tube Channel, or check out them on SoundCloud below!