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Event Tue Sep 21 2010
Questlove gets interviewed (photo by Dave Knapik)
I'm usually not one to pass up free drinks, but if you add a free show with The Roots into the mix, you can't keep me away. Such was the case as the annual Hennessy Artistry event ran through town this past Saturday. The Hennessy Artistry series is my personal most anticipated event each year, mostly due to their ability to book over-the-top surprise guests. This year they went all out, bringing the iconic Erykah Badu on stage, performing with The Roots as the house band. Add in Q-Tip and one of my hometown favorites, Kid Sister, and we've got one unspeakably awesome line-up.
Having attending this annual event series for the past two years, I can say with certainty that Hennessy had outdone themselves tenfold this year. In place of the small, stuffy clubs of years past, this year's event was held in an open warehouse space where guests were able to dance, mingle, and walk around with ease. The back portion of the warehouse held an art gallery featuring the works of Chicago portraiture artist Stephen Flemister. The tremendous event space also afforded a great deal of seating area, plus a large dance floor, stage, and photobooth area. Tasty gourmet hors d'ouerves were passed and libations were served in full force.
Curren$y (photo by Dave Knapik)
After just enough time had passed to try every drink on the menu (who knew Hennessy could be mixed in so many delicious ways?), The Roots and Q-Tip finally took the stage to a more than enthusiastic crowd. The night was filled with a plethora of special guests, starting with New Orleans-based rapper Curren$y, moving on to the soulful Yazarah and Chicago's own Kid Sister, each performing about four songs apiece. The night ended with one heck of a surprise guest — the legendary Erykah Badu, who pretty much brought the house down.
Q-tip (photo by Dave Knapik)
Hennessy seems to top themselves every year with this event, so I can only imagine what they'll have in store for us next year. In the meantime, I'll be talking about this night for a long time coming.
Click here for video footage of Q-Tip chatting it up backstage about Hennessy, Chicago, and what it means to be an artist. Warning: video contains a great deal of background noise.