Music Gear

Sunday, 28 December 2014

@LilVik reviews the @SmooveTurrell and @CCFunkandSoul pre Xmas gig at @RiversideNCL

A Smoove and Funky Start to Christmas

The last weekend before Christmas and what better way to let your hair down, especially if you are one of the lucky ones who is now off until 2015.

DJ Tom McVicar warmed up the crowd with some soulful funky beats before local lads Smoove and Turrell took to the stage.

And when S&T took their places the whole venue was packed to the rafters. It was definitely a party vibe at The Riverside and got down to business straight away with Don’t Go.  Front man, John Turrell even mentioned the derby day score of the football but this crowd was all about the music. Hands were going up throughout and people just kept dancing. It’s actually quite surprising to know that they were actually playing their fourth straight night with no break, as their energy was 110%.  They played Glasgow and then two sell out nights at Newcastle’s Hoochie Coochie before taking to The Riverside.

Some, like me, are very new to the sounds of Smoove and Turrell.  One stand out is definitely keyboardist Mike Porter.  Seriously, do you know of any other keyboard player that can play with their feet and still hit the keys on time to the beat?  And also took to jumping into the crowd! Turrell and Smoove interacted with the crowd as if they were your best mate and it was reciprocated, especially with their biggest hits Will You Be Mine and Beggarman.

Each member was given a chance to shine with solos with maybe the biggest one going to guitarist Athol Cassidy, as this was to be his last S&T show.  The crowd applauded and rightly so.  He normally is hidden just behind Porter but his sound always stands up front.  In fact of the few times I have seen S&T not one band member shines above the rest and with SEVEN strong members sometimes this can be a hard feat.  So, lets not forget the rhythm of Lloyd Croft on the drums, the bass slapping skills of Andy Champion and Dave Wilde who tinkered on his flute and lit up his saxophone in true Christmas spirit.

Riverside went wild when S&T finished their set and luckily for them headliner Craig Charles was running late due to a flat tyre. And the crowd got their much wanted encore complete with a sock thrown on stage for Mr Porter ;p

As we awaited if the main act would make it on time it was down to the amazing Tim McVicar to keep the crowd entertained and he did not disappoint in keeping the Sunday crowd in house.

Now a personal admission from myself.

I am a huge fan of BBC Radio 6 on a Saturday.  First you have Gilles Peterson on at 3pm then 6pm it’s the Craig Charles Funk and Soul show.  With the head bopping and feet stomping show it is no surprise it had to hit the road.  From the first tune spinned he had the crowd in frenzy. It was hard for me to know whether I should be taking photos or getting down to the tunes. 

Mr Charles definitely brings a show to his DJ sets.  He is singing along and dancing to every tune as if there was no spinning desk in front of him.  And then there’s the light show that comes with it.  The crowd was half and half. Some were simply in awe of watching this man do his stuff and others were bopping the night away.

Christmas spirit or not, there was definitely a lot of soul felt on Sunday with the punters bodies and feet.  Yes, the show ran a little late but this group of funk-soul hipsters from McVicar to Smoove and Turrell and then Craig Charles made sure that each and every ticket payer got their money’s worth.  There have been stories of crowds being let down when artists run late with shows but I can guarantee there was not one person under that roof that left disappointed.

Words and pictures © Victoria Ling of 137 Imaging 

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