Renowned R&B and neo-soul performer, singer, poet and local celebrity Avery R. Young is notorious for blowing the roof of venues throughout Chicago, where he offers up his entire being through verse, sharing his intense and spirited approach to life, music and politics. Young fuses the past and present through his body on the stage and throughout his lengthy creative career. As he unabashedly delves into the rich traditions of “blk folk,” the African-American experience erupts from Young’s lyrics, bubbling with humor and history. His life practice as an essayist, educator and vocalist culminates in his recent full-length album, “Booker T. Soltreyne: A Race Rekkid.” He calls his work “sunday mornin jook joint,” balancing tragedy and triumph, poetic forms and melodrama with scholarly precision. His recent appearance at Soho House garnered online buzz for his second live performance of a heart-wrenching hymn about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Calling the work a “revisited Negro spiritual,” Young speaks out on the injustice endured by the people of Flint while “charlie playin god wif wattah.” Those familiar with Young’s extensive body of work would note the motif of water running through many of his past songs, such as his epic poems on the resilience and awesome strength exhibited among the African-American community after Hurricane Katrina. One might even call Young himself a tidal force of nature. His performance, tenacity and vitriol are paralleled by none. Comparisons to the legacy of blues, jazz, soul, hip-hop and poetic revolutionaries to which Young pays perpetual homage, need not be made. Avery R. Young stands alone as one of the most important artists and voices in the Chicago poetry, music, teaching, arts and blk community, period. Be sure to catch him tearing it up on the mic before the world catches wind of him and tempts him away to farther shores. Also on the bill: de Deacon Board and DJ Jarvis Mason. (Jose Luis Benavides)
March 26 at The California Clipper, 1002 North California, 11pm, (773)384-2547, $5.