Soul, Funk, R&B, & Hip-Hop


When: March 17-19, 8 & 10 p.m. 2011

Detroit soul artist Dwele has more in common with sixties balladeer Marvin Gaye than with most of his contemporaries. Like Gaye, Dwele is both a crooner and a singer of protest music. He specializes in love songs, but also fixates on the disparities of urban life. And his songs have real musicianship to boot, incorporating organs and gospel chord changes, even when the lyrics focus on secular themes. Last year's hit single, "What's Not to Love," is a prime example. It opens with the soft trill of a Hammond B3, as horns swell and snare drums patter in the background. Dwele sings light-heartedly about a woman who is more substance than surface - a relatively rare theme for contemporary pop music. It's an apt fulcrum for his album Wants, World, Women, which is structured as a triptych. The first part is solipsistic, the second altruistic, the third libidinous. But that's Dwele for you. At San Francisco Yoshi's (1330 Fillmore St., San Francisco), Thursday through Saturday, Mar. 17-19, 8 & 10 p.m. $28, $30

Rachel Swan

Price: $28.$30

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