Concerts give music lovers the chance to gather together to hear their favorite artist and share one giant, meaty party sub. Share a moment with this GrouponLive deal to see Musiq Soulchild and Avant at the Arena Theatre. For $62, you get two tickets for in-the-round seating in rows S–U on Saturday, November 10, at 8 p.m. (up to a $124.50 value, including fees). Doors open at 7 p.m.
The Arena Theater’s Ladies Choice concert series, which has so far paired up musical heartthrobs such as Ginuwine and Sentury and Jeffrey Osborne and Peabo Bryson, delivers a bouquet of sultry R & B with its latest pairing: Musiq Soulchild and Avant. Crowned with 11 Grammy nominations and two platinum albums, Musiq Soulchild’s discography is tailor-made to serve as the soundtrack of bent-knee proposals and little black books running out of blank pages. Representing soul music’s legacy since his early days in Philly—when he crooned, scatted, beat-boxed, and sang a cappella in the streets—the hopelessly romantic crooner continues to infuse his contemporary R & B sound with new jack swing, funk, and gospel passion. His 2002 hit “Halfcrazy” showcases his diverse sonic palette, recognizable from the first delicate strains of its Spanish-style acoustic guitar before it builds into an intense, waltz-time elegy for lost love. Live, audiences can expect to hear other classic cuts such as “B.U.D.D.Y.,” as well as the dance-floor filler “Anything” from his most recent album, MusiqInTheMagiq, as he seduces his audiences subliminally by batting his lashes behind his signature aviator shades.
Avant tagged himself “the new voice of ghetto soul” when he first unleashed his platinum-selling debut, My Thoughts, in 2000. This year, he’s aiming to pull off a style update as the “new voice of modern soul,” a change he’s effecting with tracks such as “You and I” from the upcoming album Face the Music. Although still steeped in the pleading tenor, side-to-side swaying beats, and unbuckled libido that drove his breakthrough hit “Separated,“ Avant’s latest output eschews a lothario’s braggadocio for unflinchingly honest self-portraits and detailed explorations of adult relationships. Channeling Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, and R. Kelly, Avant dresses the stage in a negligée as he alternates between roof-raising jams such as “Break Ya Back” and “Makin’ Good Love” and five-hankie weepers such as “Kiss Goodbye.”
At Arena Theatre, nobody sits farther than 60 feet from the show. Most concertgoers who’ve squinted their ways through major concerts at other venues can attest that the in-the-round seating arrangement and revolving stage are causes for celebration. And the stars have noticed. Since the 1970s, the state-of-the-art venue has attracted a long list of legendary performers including Willie Nelson, Tom Jones, and Aretha Franklin. While their golden vocal chords ring through the stellar acoustics, fans sink into comfy seats, savor a flashy light system, and discard their unnecessary opera glasses.