Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Electric Empire: Water Rats, London 04/07/11

Dennis Dowlut (Electric Empire) @Water Rats, London 04/07/11
Dennis Dowlut (Electric Empire) @Water Rats, London 04/07/11 Aaron Mendoza (Electric Empire) @Water Rats, London 04/07/11 Jason Heerah (Electric Empire) @Water Rats, London 04/07/11 Electric Empire @Water Rats, London 04/07/11 Electric Empire @Water Rats, London 04/07/11 Electric Empire @Water Rats, London 04/07/11 Aaron Mendoza (Electric Empire) @Water Rats, London 04/07/11 Jason Heerah (Electric Empire) @Water Rats, London 04/07/11 Jason Heerah (Electric Empire) @Water Rats, London 04/07/11 Aaron Mendoza (Electric Empire) @Water Rats, London 04/07/11 Dennis Dowlut (Electric Empire) @Water Rats, London 04/07/11 Dennis Dowlut (Electric Empire) @Water Rats, London 04/07/11 Aaron Mendoza (Electric Empire) @Water Rats, London 04/07/11 Electric Empire @Water Rats, London 04/07/11

The Water Rats, for those who don't know, is a respectfully sized establishment on Gray's End Road, in Central-ish London AND is but a well aimed stone's throw from Kings Cross Station - it was here on this sultry evening, that this unpretentious surrounding was to play host the best musical talent that OZ has produced in a fair while.

So, after PAYING £4 to get in (I did pay honest!), it was a short walk through the doors at the back of the bar and into the throng of fans who had turned up to witness this exciting outfit - as we joined, the party was in full swing already, with the crowd singing in verbatum with the band's choice of delicious musical starter. Second tune 'Then It's Over' enabled EE to start to turn the heat up in the proceedings, it was at this point that this night really took off! I remember thinking to myself how in-tune both band and audience were with each other and how both appeared to be up for a truly memorable night! ...and how right I was...

It was time to slow the pace a little with tune 3 as one of my favourite tracks 'Brother' from their self titled album (a hit if you release it guys) rang out. This immense track was given it's wings by the accomplished backing of rhythm guitarist Dennis Dowlet. And just as palatable was the band's glaring nod, via their music, to Stevie's '70s/Early '80s Motown sound - with not only this track but others which ensued.

As each member of the band would take their turn to sing lead this evening, it was keyboard/singer Aaron Mendoza who began to command proceedings with shall we say... Well, as Monty Python would put it... "And now for something different!" And different it was as keyboard supremo, sorry extraordinaire, sorry what's the next one up from that? Anyway, Mendoza had the inspired idea of slipping something long and black into his mouth and trying to sing while it was still in there!?! â¦Yeah, you got it, it was a talk-box! How the Shelia's Wheels did you know that?! Tune of choice, and personally I have heard it covered to death of late, Adele's 'Rolling In The Deep." But boy, you haven't heard it like this! And man did the crowd, including me, absolutely love every last drop of this electrifying performance - complete with his skat-tastic keyboard ending! Aaron you da man dude!!

Where could you possibly go after that you ask? Well how about their current cut, 'Baby You're Lovin.'' This ultra cool track was delivered with the precision of a Swiss watch as the lead vocal baton was transferred to the very capable drumming hands of Jason Heerah. You could see why he is currently rated as one of Australia's premier drummers, with the added bonus of a deeply soulful voice to match. It kinda makes you think which came first with Jason - The Chicken OR the egg⦠Or should I say, the drumming OR the singing!

To round these words of admiration up for this amazing band I can't go without a repeat mention for Heerah's drumming skills as a 'Funky Drummer' solo (which almost looked improvised as to it's timing) threatened to steal the show! All I can say is, those sticks were talking pure unadulterated funk that night!! I also remember thinking, I don't know why, I hope he throws his drum sticks out at the end (he was that good!) - the room isn't that big and I could probably have most of my competition!

All in all, it was a great concert from a superb band who have gone back to the future to mix the sounds of yesterday with the vibe of tomorrow and thus creating the most memorable of shows!
Words LEE TYLER

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