“Southern California sweet soul,” the saying on the website for the West Coast band Thee Sacred Souls was brought to life Sunday night in the Egyptian Room inside Old National Centre with a crowd hungry to be serenaded by some funky R&B and songs that will make you wish you could have the love of your life right next to you.
While the setup of the stage was not anything mind-blowing, it provided a very close feeling and the size of the venue created a link of intimacy between the artist(s) and the crowd. When Thee Sacred Souls took the stage around 10 at night, the lighting was adjusted on a per-song basis depending on the vibe of the song.
Before Thee Sacred Souls took the stage, they had two opening acts. Jalen N’Gonda, the first act, took the stage at 8 p.m. and infused the crowd with only his guitar and his voice. Ngonda ran through about four or five songs of his own such as “Just Like You Used To” and even played a cover of an Etta James song to warm up the crowd.
Following N’Gonda, the female trio of Say She She was put front and center to keep the crowd hooked and did just that. The main highlight from Say She She’s set that resonated with the crowd was their protest song, “NORMA,” a ballad inspired by the waves of confusion and anger caused by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade last year, which ruled abortion as unconstitutional and illegal.
By the time Thee Sacred Souls were up to bat, the people inside the Egyptian Room were giddy at the thought of the band performing. There was a noticeable buzz among those packed right up by the stage.
Josh Lane, Sal Samano, and Alex Garcia appeared, pushing through the curtain off to the side of the stage to the roar and delight of the room. Lane gave many shoutouts to the couples in the crowd, accepted a set of roses from a fan in the front row, and wandered into the crowd, giving an engaging performance that fans will remember.
Many of the popular tunes from the catalog of Thee Sacred Souls were “Will I See You Again?” and “Weak for Your Love” which made you want to embrace someone in your vicinity and express all the love and gratitude in the world.
Towards the end of the set, the trio and those accompanying them onstage for other instruments and vocals left the stage to the disappointment of the crowd. However, a series of chants and yells calling for Thee Sacred Souls to perform at the very least one more song led to the band coming back onstage for a few more songs, notably “Can I Call You Rose?”
Thee Sacred Souls embody exactly what R&B is. They’re atmospheric, moody, and funky, but most importantly, they make you feel.
Written by: Corbin Hubert