Last week, thousands gathered at the Queen Mary in Long Beach to partake in the annual Smokin Grooves festival. Covered with throwback and ‘groovy’ branding around the grounds, the festival’s essence was captured through the surroundings. It was a great day to celebrate the genre of R&B and multiple artists thanked Smokin’ Grooves for bringing together such a cohesive lineup.
The stacked lineup featured timeless artists, like Erykah Badu and Usher, and promising up-and-comers, like Raveena and Leven Kali. It offered so much for a one-day event. The schedule was flawless and actually made it possible to catch any of the 29 acts if you timed it right, something that is very difficult for festivals to achieve!
Headlining act and R&B king, Usher, greeted fans with a set filled with non-stop bangers. Fans of all ages came out to catch the legend in action. Usher also surprised the audience by bringing out collaborator Yuna for a duet of their 2018-release ‘Crush’. Usher teased his next album, but assured the audience that the night would be reserved only for his hits. After seeing his performance and being reminded of his ability as an artist, I wouldn’t count out his next album… which many have speculated to be a sequel to his classic album ‘Confessions’.
(Photo Credit: Eric Robledo, Andrew Gomez, Jorge Meza, Michael Drummond)