Southern Soul was the theme of the night when The HamilTones graced the stage of the Bethesda Blues & Jazz on Saturday, December 15th, 2018. The rain outside did not keep away the fans who were looking forward to seeing the group’s debut performance at the venue. The HamilTones came into prominence as background singers for soul singer Anthony Hamilton, however, over the year’s group members J. Vitro, Tony Lelo, and Twoey have quickly made a name for themselves and stepped outside of their mentor’s shadow.
The HamilTones opened their Bethesda Blues & Jazz set with the original song “Mirror” which displayed the group’s southern charm. As the group performed, I honestly felt like I was in a church as all three members of the group can sing and share lead vocals. The group then performed two back-to-back covers of iconic R&B songs with the first being an energetic cover of “Rock Steady” by The Whispers followed by a soulful take on Jodeci’s “Come and Talk To Me.”
The highlight of the night for me though had to be hearing “Put Some Respeck On It” which is the song that pushed them into the mainstream. In the spring of April 2016, the CEO of Cash Money Records aka Bryan “Baby” Williams, created a viral meme phrase after appearing on The Breakfast Club morning show. Demanding that everyone, “put some respect on my name,” Williams had no idea, how much he would he help The HamilTones.The group also performed some more of their original material “Money Can’t Buy You Love” and “Never Gonna Let You “Go.”
As the night began to close down before The HamilTones closed out their show, the group decided to let the audience show off some of its vocal talents. The group came out into the audience and allowed the crowd to sing a portion of the closing set list song “Sexy Lady”. Naturally, the DMV showed up and showed out.
While the show was great, I do wish the show was a bit longer. The entire set list only had about a fifty-five-minute runtime I would have loved to hear the group cover some of their mentor’s songs, as well one of their signature mash-ups of songs. I can only assume the group wants to receive accolades for their work and that is why they did not perform any songs from Anthony Hamilton’s catalog.
With smooth choreography and lush vocals, The HamilTones are filling a void, which is currently lacking in modern music, the R&B group.I highly recommend checking them out, the next time the group is in the DMV.
Final Grade B+