Thursday evening, I headed to Wicker Park to attend Songs and Stories with Zo! And Carmen Rodgers. Presented by the Armour Agency and held at Davenports Piano Bar Cabaret, the evening was a perfect blend of artistry and musicianship. Davenports Piano Bar Cabaret was the perfect space for such an intimate affair. Appropriately titled, “Piano & A Microphone”, these two incredibly talented artists performed to a sold-out crowd in the most intimate of settings. Zo! & Carmen Rodgers had incredible musical chemistry as they shared stories from their musical catalog often laughing and interacting with the crowd throughout the night. Opening the night with “Packing for Chicago” and interweaving an ode to house music for the Chicago crowd, I knew we were in for something special. The audience enjoyed some of their favorite songs like, “Wishing You Well”, “Lifelines”,” Tell Me Something New”, “I Don’t Mind”, and a few classic R&B jams that the audience sang along to with sheer delight.
The concept of Songs and Stories, in the tradition of VH1’s Storytellers or MTV’s unplugged, is a welcome breath of fresh air in the Chicago music scene, allowing audiences an up close and personal experience with artists and musicians. It felt like a gathering of friends instead of a show where artists are usually untouchable and unapproachable. Zo! & Carmen Rodgers were personable and completely relatable. Carmen’s soulful and sultry vocals were the perfect compliment to Zo’s musical instrumentation. After the show, Zo! & Carmen Rodgers met fans, took photos and hung out with the audience in a beautiful display of humility rarely seen. They put on an intimate, enjoyable show that amplified the incredible talent, artistry and chemistry. I left an even a bigger fan and cannot wait to see them again.