The Foreign Exchange have been cruising around the country on their Tales From The Land Of Milk And Honey Tour for the past few weeks and bringing joy and happiness to all who’ve seen them live. To be left with that feeling after attending a Foreign Exchange show is nothing new, but there is something different about the shows on this tour. For this outing, Phonte and Nicolay are coming to your city to party and there’s nothing you can do but join in on the reverie.
Such was the case when the fellas hit Washington, D.C.’s historic Howard Theatre for a sold out show in May. Accompanied by musical director Zo! on keys, Carmen Rodgers and Tamisha Waden on vocals, Darion Alexander on bass and Nick Baglio on drums, Nicolay Rook and Phonte Coleman entertained all those packed tight into the venue.
Their high-energy set fluidly moved through tracks from their newest album, Tales From the Land of Milk and Honey, such as “Milk and Honey” and “As Fast As You Can.” The latter song segued into a surprising cover of Prince‘s “17 Days” with Phonte leading everyone in a chorus of, “Let the rain fall down,” as they paid their respects to the fallen genius. Coleman brought the vocals and the jokes when he quipped, “If you were expecting a smooth cool neo-soul show, n***a this ain’t for you,” breaking it down that this wasn’t your average R&B concert experience. With the singer/rapper/actor/comedian leading the show, how could it be?
What followed was a fun flow of songs from past Foreign Exchange albums to present. They hopscotched from Love In Flying Colors (“On a Day Like Today”), to Nicolay’s most recent solo endeavor City Lights Vol. 3: Soweto (“Brightest Star”), to their Stevie Wonder cover from Leave It All Behind (“If She Breaks Your Heart”) back to Tales without missing a beat. “Asking For a Friend” came next and the funky soulful house song got turned into an epic live jam. The band went to “Work!” indeed.
The jams and jokes didn’t end there, of course. Highlights included Phonte looping in O.T. Genasis‘ trap anthem “Cut It” with “Disappear” (yes, really) and later doling out ratchet relationship advice and telling men to be “disgusting” for their women during “Body.” The overall mood of the concert was upbeat and festive and continued through to the last song when The Foreign Exchange shared their take on “Put Some Respeck On It” by The HamilTones for their encore and brought the night to a hilarious end.