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Concert Review:: Eric Roberson at The Xclusive Entertainment Center

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Two time Grammy Nominated R&B artist Eric Roberson performed with his band before a mature eclectic crowd on Friday, January 10th at the Xclusive Lounge in Columbus, Ohio.  Eric Roberson (or Erro) is an artist, producer and songwriter from Rahway, New Jersey whose smooth and soulful sound can be likened to Peabo Bryson.  Hailed as the `King of Independent Music’, Eric has produced 7 albums during his long career, with two upcoming releases for 2014 (When Love Calls and B-Sides and Features & Heartaches).   Eric is known for his beautiful lyrics, falsetto ballads and dynamic performances, which transports die-hard fans into altered states of musical consciousness. With each performance Eric vows to earn the appreciation, praise and full attention of his audience.  Having experienced other Eric Roberson performances, in both intimate and theatre venues, I felt that once again the crowd was in for an engaging treat.

The Xclusive Lounge is a club/lounge venue with the stage centered in front of the dance floor and horse-shoe shaped lounge seating adjoining the perimeter of the dance floor.  Eric and the band’s energetic opening set of Don’t Change for Me captivated the crowd and quickly filled the dance floor.  The percussionist was able to briefly showcase his skills with a highlight of Rock with You before Eric fully scatted into the beautiful lyrics of Perfect Picture. One fan experienced the opportunity of having her cell phone serenaded and seduced.  Several other hits like Walk Away, Don’t Change, Def Ears, Music, Mr. Nice Guy and Obstacles were performed in short segments during the set.    During an interlude Eric outlined the “rules” to dancing with a man.  Rule number one, hands must be in front of you.  Rule number two, you should know some of the words to the song (one doesn’t want to appear foolish, right?).  And thirdly, walk away once the dance is done (especially when the chemistry seems perfect and you’re not available). The conclusion of rule #3 provided the perfect segue into the sultry tune of Dealing.   Following this the fans co-authored an impromptu song which Eric titled `Love Triangle’, where the three simple words of vibrator, toenails and Hawaii made the crowd roar with satisfaction.  The polyrhythmic Couldn’t Hear Me Over the Music was flipped four different ways before Eric paid homage to his years at Howard University with the Go-Go hit Doing the Butt.  As Eric’s crooning came to a close there was a brusque introduction of band members before the performer exited the stage.  Compared to other ERRO performances, this conclusion felt curt and abrupt.  Usually each band member is permitted to demonstrate their skill and art.

Considering previous Erro performances I can say that the delivery was adequate, but it was not one of his more dynamic shows.  I was a little surprised that there was no new music performed in light of his upcoming new album releases.  Maybe it was due to the layout of the Xclusive Lounge but the performance came off somewhat more like a rehearsal for Eric as it seemed to have lacked a true connection for him to exude his passion for music.  Eric is a wonderful song writer and story-teller who has been able to transform words into time treasured experiences for his fans.  Perhaps a more intimate venue would have given Erro the vibe needed to make this show more memorable and satiate the appetites of his devoted fans.

Written by: M. Page