Mint Condition at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
212-997-4144 www.bbkingblues.com Ages: $36 advance, $40 day of show
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Once upon a time there were great funk and R&B bands like Earth, Wind & Fire, The Meters, War, Kool & The Gang, Slave, and numerous others who constantly broke down musical barriers. The musicality of these units was superior - they could rock or funk out as easily as they could move the crowd with a soulful tenor ballad. In the '90s, a dynamic young new band emerged to continue this tradition: Mint Condition, now the greatest self-contained R&B band of our time. Mint Condition does it all - delivering hard-bitten funk with a hip-hop edge, rocking out with screaming lead guitar, and crooning lush, "baby-making" soul ballads. The much sought-after band, which last year marked its 20th anniversary, has amassed a string of hits and performs hundreds of live shows each year.
The members of Mint Condition all grew up in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The band's first single "Are You Free" generated some buzz, but it wasn't until Washington D.C.'s WHUR-FM broke the follow-up ballad, 1991's "Breakin' My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)," that the band experienced its first runaway smash. "Breakin'" peaked at No. 3 on Billboard's R&B chart and No. 6 in Pop's Top 10, remaining on the charts for 34 weeks. After that, two other stellar albums - From the Mint Factory (1993) and Definition of a Band (1996) - and a chain of hit singles followed, including "Forever in Your Eyes," "U Send Me Swingin'," "Someone to Love," So Fine," "You Don't Have to Hurt No More" and "What Kind of Man Would I Be." Even when the Perspective label folded and the band moved to Elektra, its fourth CD, Life's Aquarium (1999), spawned the Billboard R&B Top 5 hit, "If You Love Me." The band released its fifth CD, Livin' the Luxury Brown, under its own Cagedbird Regords imprint in 2005. The album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Independent Albums chart. The band's follow-up release, E-Life (2008), garnered critical acclaim as well, featuring the hit "Nothing Left to Say."
In 2011, Mint Condition marked the 20th anniversary of its first chart hit with 7..., the group's seventh studio album released in April on Shanachie Entertainment/Caged Bird. The album sounds unlike anything else in the R&B world - or any other world - today, once again demonstrating that Mint Condition is one of those rare groups on the scene with its own unique sound. Boasting tracks like "Unsung," "Not My Daddy," "Walk On," and the hit single "Caught My Eye," the disc has already ascended to classic status - a fitting commemoration of two decades of music from this game-changing outfit.
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