R&B/soul artist Allen Stone brought his Karaoke Extravaganza concert tour to the ROXY Theater in West Hollywood on Nov. 13. A sea of rabid fans packed the room erupting with cheers when Stone came on stage. Sporting a checkered sport coat and pants, a bow tie, running shoes and a wool cap pulled over his long curly locks of blonde hair. Stone and his stage partner, Julian, kept the crowd engaged for nearly two hours. Following a festive and comedic opening monologue, the concert got underway. Stone performed solo versions of his songs “Lay it Down” and “Sunny Days,” and later in the show, “Give You Blue,” from his latest album release, Building Balance. The karaoke portion of the evening kicked into high gear. Fans from the audience came up on stage one or more a time, depending on the song selection, and performed a variety of classic hits from artists Barenaked Ladies, Smash Mouth and Hall & Oates among others. A number of the participants were quite impressive vocally, and were animated with their stage presence.
Stone gave the participants center stage before lending his vocals to the mix. It was very entertaining and quite comical at times. For the final song of the night, Stone, joined by his lovely wife and new baby boy, invited as many fans as he could fit on stage for a touching rendition of “We Are Family” and That’s What Friends Are For.”
“This is a weird crazy concept that I came up with,” says Stone. “When you put out a record you have to go out and promote it. Honestly, I see everybody do the same thing. They come out and it’s going to be me and a guitar player and we’re going to break the songs down, we’re going to unplug them. Or they release the record right at the top of the tour and then they go play it. At a regular show with a full band, we play 1,000, 2000 seat rooms. Once it’s that size you can go out in the audience, but you’re not gonna have a personal moment. So the idea of karaoke came to me and t’s working. People are really amped on the idea. Last night, I felt like I had actual real moments with at least 50% of the people in there.”
“It very much teeters on the line of campy, really sweet, and adorable,” adds Stone. “It’s a really fine line. Every night after I get off stage I always ask my friends, who were in the audience, 'Did it feel campy to you? Is it stupid? Was everybody laughing with me or at me?'"
Stone, who is rapidly establishing himself as one of the most dynamic vocalists on the scene today, released his latest album, Building Balance (ATO Records), earlier this month to rave reviews.
“Originally I wrote a song for the record called Building Balance, says Stone. “I was just in love with the idea of building balance. To me, it feels like a never-ending journey because you’re constantly building. Balance is something that you’re trying to pause for. So these two like opposite sides of a battery trying to be put together. Throughout the process of making the record that was the case for me. I was figuring out how to center myself as a human being, as a man personally, while living out of a suitcase and trying to be a good partner and a good father. Trying to be a good leader of my band and the people I get the pleasure of working with and learning my own needs to just be centered. All the while, learning how to feel comfortable in the weird skin of my music. On this record specifically, there’s hip-hop, folk, blues, rock & roll, funk, soul, there ’s even shout outs to DC GoGo sort of stuff. These are musical colors that I love and have enjoyed throughout my life.”
Touring in support of Building Balance, Stone launches his US concert tour in Austin, TX on Feb. 7, 2020, and will continue coast to coast through the end of March.
“I'm pumped to showcase Building Balance the way it was intended,” says Stone. “With a live band, for a live audience. I can’t wait to get back on the road and share this new music with my fans. I love singing in front of audiences and making songs. I really hope that words and the melodies that I pen and put together feel authentic to an audience and grab them.”
“It’s just nice to have a gig,” adds Stone.”With how quick the turnover is in pop culture, it’s tough to stick around and continue to make records. It’s tough to live on the road and do what I think you really have to do in order to find that fan base that will love and continue to support you. After 10 years of doing this, I think I’m at the point where I’m still in awe that I’m able to put out music and make art.”
“I’ve got the right people around me to keep me grounded, and I come from good stock,” says Stone. “My folks are good people who did a great job at raising me. There is so much good nutrition out there towards keeping a steady head and a balance. You just have to seek it out and surround yourself with good people. I feel very lucky”
Allen Stone will also be performing on the TODAY Show on Dec. 4 and Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Dec. 9.
ALLEN STONE PERFORMS AT AMOEBA MUSIC
The day after his memorable concert at the Roxy Theater, Allen Stone performed a solo acoustic show at Hollywood’s Amoeba Music. A hundred or so fans lined up to attend this very special event, and Stone did not disappoint playing a 25-minute featuring selections off his latest album release, Building Balance. Following his performance, Stone signed autographs and took photos with fans.