Last Friday, Providence’s dopest gathered at Fete Music Hall for a night of art, music, and hometown love.
On October 12, Providence’s dopest gathered at Fete Music Hall for another installation of When Stars Align, a recurring music and arts festival where local black artists come together to share their work. After being patted down (I have no idea why a nightclub/arcade has such intense security), I walked into what I can only describe as ~a serious vibe~. Fete Music Hall’s ballroom was packed full of tables set up by each individual artist displaying everything from intricately crafted jewelry to vibrant paintings to Supreme t-shirts. Amongst these artists was nationally celebrated muralist Savonnara Alexander, who, like a lot of the artists, was painting live and making new pieces throughout the entire evening.
After about an hour of admiring art — and dancing to DJ NyceHitz’s poppin’ selection of 90s club hits — MC, host, and creator Chip Douglas introduced the first musician of the night, Mz Marrow, kicking off an insanely energetic and talented lineup. After Mz Marrow’s crazily hype set came rapper Supreme Scribe with tracks from his latest drop Past Due; then was NVNO, who composed a trap beat on stage, then proceeded to go off with mind-boggling dance moves. R&B recording artist Raiche followed, accompanied by WBRU alumna DJ Knockout, with a performance of her single “Money Pies” and an emotional delivery of an unreleased track. Then was lyrical genius Trav Black, whose set included a freestyle based on a Colin Kaepernick portrait and a shirtless rendition of “Black Mamba,” his personal anthem. Local legend Chachi closed out the night with a sound reminiscent of A Tribe Called Quest, using the simplicity of his lyrics as an asset and bringing the crowd to an awe-struck hush.
The quick succession of artists was definitely a lot to take in, considering that I wasn’t expecting such a huge explosion of R&B and rap talent in a small city like Providence. Each of these artists was so distinctly and uniquely skilled that I’ll definitely continue to follow them, and I’ll hold on to the memory of When Stars Align so I can say I saw them live before they became famous. But what struck me most— perhaps even more than Trav’s glistening abs and mad freestyling skills — was the incredibly tangible sense of love and support in the room throughout the evening. Amid the variety of styles was a common thread connecting all of the artists: the love and gratitude they all shared for the Providence arts community. Though they’re all on their grind, hustling to get more listeners on SoundCloud, the lineup of six found a fully dedicated fanbase in their community. Mz Marrow smiled to see members of the audience screaming her lyrics, and I could hear the emotion in DJ Knockout’s voice as he talked about the realization of dreams through community, saying “wherever the mind goes, the body will follow.” When Stars Align was, in all senses, true to its tagline: “a [gathering] in the name of peace, prosperity, and Providence.”