• DERRICK DUNN

Concert Review: Hotter Than July, Ladies Night Out at The Birchmere




All Photos courtesy of Tarsha Fitzgerald


The spirit of R&B was alive and well on Friday, July 9th, at the legendary Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, Virginia. Music fan and concert promoter Tarsha Fitzgerald continued her successful run of tribute concerts with her latest promotion titled "Hotter Than July Ladies Night Out." The show's nucleus was to pay homage to real singers and not the auto-tune tripe that fills radio airwaves today. After an elegant introduction by Ms. Fitzgerald, who served as our MC, it was showtime!


Headlining the show was vocalist Andre Jackson & Friends with Sudden-M-Pac Band. The band appeared on stage first, followed by Jackson, who entered the stage in a shiny suit coat with the shoes to match. From the onset, Jackson was on point and in accord with the band.

The show began with a one-two punch of Lakeside covers, "Fantastic Voyage" and "It's All The Way Live." The funk grooves continued as the band made their way into "Brickhouse" by The Commodores, which they successfully blended into The Ohio Players' "Skintight."


After warming the crowd up, it was time for the "friends" to shine. Lanisha Alexander did a soulful cover of "Somebody Guy" while Shelton Price paid homage to Motown with some sharp choreography set to The Temptations and The Four Tops music. The night's first set ended with a lovely cover of Silk Sonic's "Leave the Door Open" by John and Lanisha.


The second half of the set found Andre Jackson & Friends dabbling in the area of Hip Hop as they paid homage to the late great Heavy D and Shock G. However, I am a slow jam cat, and the night would not have been complete without them. Gladys did a gender flip on the Con Funk Shun classic "Love's Train" while Andre found time to take us back to the nineties. His covers of "Baby Hold onto Me," "Right and Wrong Way," and "My, My, My" definitely would make the original artists proud.


After an energetic, nearly 2.5 hour set, the night ended. Next to the movie theater, the entertainment facet I missed most during the pandemic was LIVE music. Tarsha Fitzgerald Productions and The Birchmere provided music fans with a night of great music and an all-around good time. Quite honestly, for the price paid, Andre Jackson & Friends with Sudden-M-Pac Band provided a better show than some established artists who shall remain nameless.


Final Grade A-


Tarsha Fitzgerald Productions' next two shows at the Birchmere are July 25th (A Musical Tribute to RICK JAMES & TEENA MARIE) and August 8th (EU Featuring SUGAR BEAR “Sugar Bear Birthday Show!”). Tickets for both shows are available via Ticketmaster and at The Birchmere Box office.


To learn more about Mrs. Fitzgerald's upcoming events, please check out her website at Tarsha Fitzgerald Productions.



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