He said Paris was especially fun. “There are some countries where our message resonates more,” he said. “France is a great example of that. They are very freedom loving people. That is what Arrested Development is about. It connects.”
He said the Juneteenth celebrations will embrace the 30th anniversary of the band’s breakthrough album as well as more recent music.
“Our latest album is a love letter to our fans,” Speech said. “It features Big Daddy Kane, Master Ace, The Sugarhill Gang and Monie Love. So many legendary hip-hop artists. It’s a celebration of hip-hop itself.”
And the band changes things up every night with 30 to 40 songs ready to go and only about 20 slots available. “We never do the same show twice,” he said. “We don’t have a set list per se. We do whatever the crowd wants. They’ll throw song names out.”
Speech is happy to see Juneteenth gain awareness outside of the Black audience. He said he has known about it since he was a little kid in Milwaukee. “It was always one of those memorable special cultural experiences from my childhood,” he said. “We’d get together, have barbecue, listen to great music. I remember balloons and clowns. It’s all fond memories.”
He hopes to make the Juneteenth concert much bigger down the road, comparable to The Roots Picnic in Philadelphia. “We want to make this an annual thing,” he said.
IF YOU GO
8 p.m. June 19-21. $35-$45. City Winery Atlanta, 650 North Ave. NE, Atlanta. citywinery.com.