Demont Crawford and The Wylde Bunch rocking the stage. (Larry Buford/L.A. Sentinel)

The Bakewell Media Music Stage, aptly known as music for the soul, lived up to the hype. And this year, the stage was presented by sponsor Chevrolet. From the first Taste of Soul (TOS) in 2005, music has been the festival’s soul, and Lakeside kicked it off during the second half of performances at the Bakewell Media Music Stage.

Lakeside, known as one of the best funk bands, originally hailed from Dayton, Ohio, and is still led by one of the original lead vocalists, Mark Adam Wood. The group performed hit after hit, starting with “It’s All the Way Live,” “It’s All About Family,” “Something About that Woman,” and the party closer – “Fantastic Voyage.”

Wood expressed his gratitude for the return of TOS and performing for a L.A. crowd that loves and remembers Lakeside. “I’m grateful to Mr. Danny Bakewell, who makes it possible for groups like us to perform still. Tell everybody that the reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated,” Wood said.

Lakewood experienced the sudden loss of founder and prolific writer William Shelby a year ago, a loss still felt by the band. Wood, who grew up around the corner from Shelby, affectionately called him “Noddy” because “he always had a song in his head.”

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Following Lakeside was Pasadena’s own – Troop, an acronym for Total Respect of Other People. Troop members, including Steve Russell, John Harreld, Rodney Benford, and Allen McNeil, kicked off their performance with “Mamacita,” “Sweet November,” “All I Do Is Think of You,” and their number one hit, “Spread My Wings.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti, Pamela Bakewell and Danny Bakewell Sr. enjoy the Bakewell Media Music for the Soul Stage. (Larry Buford/L.A. Sentinel)

Closing the night at the Bakewell Media Music Stage was Midnight Star celebrating 45 years in the music business with original band members Belinda Lipscomb, Melvin Gentry, Kenneth Gant, Bo Watson, Bill Simmons, and Bobby Lovelace. Midnight Starr, formed in 1976 at Kentucky State University, proudly trumpeted their 45 years of togetherness with the group performing not only their hits, but a melody of hits they wrote for others.

Those hits include “Love Shoulda Brought You Home” from the “Boomerang” soundtrack, “Rock Steady,” a song written for the Whispers, and “Meeting in the Ladies Room,” a song recorded by the R&B group Klymaxx, all to the crowd’s delight.

Midnight Star left the crowd wanting more by performing “Wet My Whistle,” “Midas Touch,” “Operator,” “Curious,” “No Parking on the Dance Floor,” “Freak-A-Zoid,” and “Play Another Slow Jam.” The hits and the energetic performances from the group kept the crowd on their feet and rocking it old school.