Fatback Band with special guest Natasha Watts, September 2016, GLive, Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom
Fatback Band with special guest Natasha Watts
Thursday 1st September 2016
GLive, Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom
Charlie Raven Photography
‘Are YOU Ready ?’ asks the flyer for this show here in Surrey. The majority of the audience even after a day’s work on a Thursday evening certainly were and danced when invited. Still led by trouper and percussionist Bill Curtis, the soul and funk band always roll into town and deliver.
At first the sound was poorly balanced and underpowered, causing some frowns from Bill in particular, but once that was all rectified and the sound louder and clearer and , well, fatter the performance took off. With many members singing and English lass Isabella Gordon in fine roaring voice, it was hard not to join in the happy refrains, whilst your feet tapped in time with the rhythms.
Songwise this crew have a hatful of own compositions to lay on the crowd and many intro’s brought gasps of approval from the soul conneisseurs in the room. Wicki Wacky was a relentless groove causing outbreaks of dancing and Gotta Get My Hands On Some Money sounded heartfelt and propulsive. Anyone that has enjoyed the likes of Earth Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang and Average White Band would find much to enjoy, here. The punchy trumpet and sax team of Ledjerick Woods and Robert Locks added spice where needed and took some stunning solo’s with strong traces of Donald Byrd and Grover Washington Jnr respectively in evidence. The keyboard work is exciting and insistent, working the colours available. The drummer Desmond Humphrey from Jamaica treated the whole night as a party and had a fine singing voice, too.
One of the best numbers included found the guitar player Darryl Mcallister singing his heart out and flaying his Strat on Is This the Future? their nod to Curtis Mayfield and probably Gil Scott Heron, with the bass player Zack Guinn hitting the funk groove with a fabulous sense of dynamics.
Backstrokin’ was audience participation time with the whole house getting down and the backbeat punching through; Yum Yum was all movement and a hit with the dancers; the peppery Spanish Hustle was a cool inclusion with its driving Hispanic vibe and clattery percussion. My brother’s wish for Bus Stop was sated, reminding him of the days he ran a disco in these here parts. Four To The Front and Four To The Back…memories! The storming classic sound of their huge hit I Found Lovin’ pretty much iced the cake, it is pleasant to hear on the radio but in a live setting really cuts through.
Brought back for an encore, Bill gave us I Like Girls with each band member getting the chance to announce their preferences bar Isabella who seems to like fit blokes in Mini Coopers. Let’s draw a veil on that, though….
A quick mention for the opening spot from the lovely voice of Natasha Watts and two backing singers. The playback (no band) format made the songs sound a tad
lifeless though there is no doubting the quality of her voice. Please go acoustic guitar-backed next time, Natasha. I am sure you could pull that off and the songs themselves sounded OK