(LOS ANGELES, CA) – The 10th Annual Taste of Soul (TOS) exceeded expectations again this year with over 400,000 patrons enjoying food, festivities and entertainment.
While there were several entertainment stages that brought gospel, pop and R&B music to Crenshaw, some very special gems performed at the 94.7 Wave Stage on Saturday.
Legendary funk bands Lakeside and the Zapp Band had the crowd doing some old school “twerking”, while R&B legend Jon B. and rebel soul Raquel Rodriguez put the people in the mood to groove. The Wave Stage also featured performances from TOS Starquest winner, musical artist Tia P. and the Latin R&B, jazz, and soul band DW3, who captivated the crowd with melodic sounds early in the day.
Los Angeles native Raquel Rodriguez kicked-off the second half of the show, singing one of her latest singles, “Better Days.” Rodriguez spoke with us in-depth about her musical style and aspirations.
“We call it eclectic soul because there’s just a lot of soul aspects in there, funk, R&B, jazz and blues. Our goal is just to play as much music as we can in front of as many people as we can like today,” Rodriguez stated.
The Sentinel also caught up with the renowned R&B crooner himself, Jon B., who spoke about what it was like working with 2-Pac and why his classic hits remain relevant today.
“I feel so honored to be a part of history first of all. It’s a beautiful thing to have at least a couple records that people remember from 20 years ago and they still want to hear it,” he said.
While reflecting on one of his hit singles “Are U Still Down” featuring Tupac Shakur, Jon B. stated, “I don’t know if there’s anyone on the planet with that much passion, and sometimes your passion is so much that you don’t even belong here on the planet, so I’m just honored to have had that time in the studio with him.” Jon B. also performed fan favorites including “They Don’t Know” and “Someone to Love” on the Wave Stage.
We also found comedian, host and the J. Spot owner J. Anthony Brown outside the stage.
“What I like about this, is that it’s an opportunity for small businesses, people who own catering businesses to reach eighty, ninety thousand people in one day and put their business on blast, on main street,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Lakeside with Mark Wood, the band notorious for it’s “funk” and “boogie” sounds, took us all back on a “Fantastic Voyage,” performing the major hit along with “It’s All the Way Live” and others. After cooling down from their fired-up performance, Lakeside spent some time reflecting on their music and unique roots to Los Angeles.
Mark Wood, an original founder of the group, recalled signing one of Lakeside’s record deals at Maverick Flats just across the street in 1972. He also shared why he thinks people from all generations jam to their music.
“It’s definitely music that is really created out of the heart and from the street. It’s nothing really commercialized about it. It really came from guys playing out of the garage and creating something and putting it on tape,” Wood said.
When asked why the Taste of Soul is so important for people in the community, lead guitarist Craig Robinson said, “This is a gathering of people in a time where the world is on fire. We need to stick together and hang together as much as we can and maybe we can turn it around.”
The phenomenal melodies and electric dance moves happening on stage were capped off with evening’s closing act, the Zapp Band. The highly sampled “G-funk” and “talk-box” innovators strutted their stuff in blue and yellow attire, performing industry favorites such as “More Bounce to the Ounce” and “Do Wa Ditty (Blow that Thing)”, hitting notes that took fans right back to the 80s all over again.
The Taste of Soul continues to serve as a pillar in the Los Angeles community bringing hundred of thousands of people together in the name of unity, entertainment, and fun.