NYC's Blue Note Jazz Club reopened in June, and they're in the midst of their 2021 Jazz Fest. It continued on Wednesday night (8/11) with the first of four Digable Planet shows, spread out over two nights -- two on Wednesday and two on Thursday. Doodlebug, Ladybug Mecca, and Butterfly were backed by a live band which featured Thaddeus Turner (Maktub) on guitar and keys, Darrius Willrich (of Kalimba) on keyboards, Gerald “Tugboat” Turner on bass, and D’vonne Lewis on drums. Kicking off their set with “Slowes’ Comb/The May 4th Movement Starring Doodlebug” from their second record, 1994's Blowout Comb, Digable Planets felt like a perfect fit for the venue, and I was surprised to learn they hadn’t performed there before. August 11th is cited as the day hip hop was born at a birthday party in The Bronx in 1973 and DP performing at the Blue Note on that same date seemed like no accident.

Audience members were seated at tables throughout the space and after “May 4th,” Doodlebug stated "I know some of y’all want to get up and dance…live through us." Before the show was over, however, we were encouraged to get up out of our seats since most people were done eating and their first set was coming to an end. (The crowd, some of whom stayed masked the whole night, danced by their tables.) The show closed with their first ever single, “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat),” which was the only song not accompanied by the live band but had many people rapping along with them. After "Rebirth" was over, Doodlebug, Ladybug Mecca, and Butterfly left the stage through the audience and signed records and posed for pictures upstairs for those who stuck around after their first set, while people waited outside to be seated for the 10:30PM show.

Check out pictures from Wednesday night's early show, including one of the setlist, below.

photos and recap by Edwina Hay.