On the third Saturday of every month, the Hub of Hattiesburg is holding an open mic for aspiring poets, comedians, singers and musicians. The event was coordinated by restaurant owner Malcolm Clark and is part of a series of events that are held on each weekend of the month.
“We hold an event every weekend, but by far our most popular is our Soulful Groove,” Clark said.
Clark said each weekend has its own theme. The first Saturday of the month is a Paint, Party, and Groove event, where guests are invited to listen to live music, paint, eat, drink and have a good time as advertised in their flyers.
The second Saturday of the month is dedicated to the Comedy Crack Up, where the Hub provides a variety of comedians for a comedy show. The third weekend of the month is the Soulful Groove, where guest are invited to vibe and listen to Soul, Blues, R&B from their live soul band Phase Two. The Hub ends the month with a Kickback, Cocktails, and Karaoke night.
“We have been doing these events for a little over two years, but the Soulful Groove is our most popular event. People like that it’s safe and has an easy vibe,” Clark said.
Saturday night’s event was started off with a performance by singer Darius Gamble of Collins. Gamble opened the event with a cover of Daniel Caesar’s “Get You,” which was met by a standing ovation from the crowd.
This was Gamble’s second time performing at the event. Gamble said he believes singing at the Soulful Groove has helped him become a better artist and performer.
“This is my second time performing at Soulful Groove. Both times were great experiences and being able to sing in front of a crowd has helped get rid of nervousness” Gamble said.
Gamble said he would advise artists interested in seriously pursuing music to “just do it.” “Don’t have second thoughts. Just do it. Even if you do have second thoughts, do it anyway,” he said.
On Saturday poets and singers got on stage to perform alongside the Hub house soul band the Phase Two, which is a combination of various musicians, each with different backgrounds in music.
Phase Two drummer Michael Bolton is self-taught musician and has been playing for 20 years and has been playing with the group for almost a year.
“I primarily play R&B and neo soul, but we’ll play everything from Al Green, Bobby Womack, Marvin Gaye, Mint Condition, the Drifters, to H.E.R, Daniel Cesar, and James Roe,” Bolton said. “We’re a group of musicians that love to sing, play and have fun.”
Phase Two Head Keyboardist Zachary White started off as a Soulful Groove attendee but was offered a position in the band and has been playing with them ever since. “At first I just came to all of the shows, then I asked them if I could join in with the band and that was that.”
White said he believes the city comes out to support the soulful groove because of the great vibes put off by Phase Two.
“We play all elements to ensure you get a great vibe from it,” White said. “It’s a nice chill grown folks’ function. It’s safe. You don’t have to worry about looking over your shoulder because we’re giving off positive vibes when we’re here.”
photo courtesy EventBrite