Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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The Brand New Heavies: KOKO, London 10/05/13

Dawn Joseph (The Brand New Heavies) KOKO, London 10/05/13
Dawn Joseph (The Brand New Heavies) KOKO, London 10/05/13 Dawn Joseph (The Brand New Heavies) KOKO, London 10/05/13 Dawn Joseph (The Brand New Heavies) KOKO, London 10/05/13 Dawn Joseph (The Brand New Heavies) KOKO, London 10/05/13 CROWD @The Brand New Heavies - KOKO, London 10/05/13 Dawn Joseph (The Brand New Heavies) KOKO, London 10/05/13 Dawn Joseph (The Brand New Heavies) KOKO, London 10/05/13 The Brand New Heavies - KOKO, London 10/05/13 The Brand New Heavies - KOKO, London 10/05/13

Hitting their stride from the off with instrumental intro track "Forward," which coincidentally occupies the same position on their new long-player of the same name (funny that!)...the Heavies had come to promote another outstanding funk filled affair while giving a welcome airing of their esteemed catalogue of cooool…

Camden's KOKO was the place to be on this equally cool Friday evening in May, where an expectant audience witnessed a bit more than just they had bargained for…three of the funkiest dudes to have ever graced the chart was nothing new as far as this band was concerned - but these kats were about to get the cream, as new leading lady Dawn Joseph 'took' to the stage…and please don't tell the chaps'…kinda stole the show!

Such was her demeanour, vigour, power, furness, show-women-ship (ok, I just made that up!) and vocal dexterity…she left all who questioned if they would get their money's worth this evening, throughly satisfied by her tasty fare - with news slowly filtering through that vocal heavy-weight N'Dea Davenport had pulled a flanker, Dawn was then asked to fill in - as she had recently featured on the new L.P. and was no stranger to the set-up, then why not?…In fact, may I add at this point, if we were basing the ticket money on her talent alone, I reckon we should have had a whip-round to try and keep her on stage for longer!

But I digress, back to the music…next up, sounding fresher than the original, which I don't think is too hard, one of my least favourite track's by the band "Back To Love."  I've never been a fan of Jan's vocal on this track - to me, N'Dea's tones were like a genie in the bottle where this tune was concerned…now taken care of by the more than capable Ms Joseph, who you could argue, was warming her voice for their more pressing classics.

Talking of which, like the buses which stop when they feel like it around my way, along came three in a row…"Dream On Dreamer" which will always have an "N'Dea '94" date stamp planted firmly in the middle, no matter whomever is brave enough to try and tame this monster, morphed into yet more Davenport dynamite as "Midnight At The Oasis" - their re-vamped Maria Muldaur '74 classic was greeted with exuberance by the audience and sung back at the band with sheer delight…I remember thinking, had they not played this track they could have quite possibly been lynched!  "Sunlight" was the third delight of the three, which is also by far and wide the standout track on the new album - this chunk of funk is worth the cover price of the new CD alone and absolutely oozes from top to toe with vintage Heaviness.

This was followed by fellow "Forward" album track "Heaven," sung by Jan et al…it also happens to be track twelve on the album and if I were to choose which tunes to perform off the album, it would also be around twelfth out of the fourteen tracks…I'm holding on to the notion that they didn't have enough time to practice the other tracks on the album with Dawn because of lack of time, hence why the chaps took over with this ditty!

Well worn funky interlude "Gimme One Of Those" reminded their fans that these guys can play, it reminded me of Bobby Byrd's "I Know You Got Soul." But with solos in abundance the band where in the mood to show their solo credentials, this produced one of the highlights of the night - a base driven nod to MJ's "Let Me Show You."

This in turn gave their songstress long enough to change from one dazzling outfit to another…and special mention has to be made to the outfits, which Joseph announced that she'd "knocked-up" in a hurry due to her late substitution - if that was a rush, the mind boggles at what outfit she would adorned if she had taken her time!  They were Rio meets, Knotting Hill carnival, meets the out n' out funkalicious nature of the Brand New Heavies - perfect for this evening as Joseph turned from a greek goddess inspired peacock-eyed looking number, complete with silver flame effect hat (no honestly!)…into a funky kick-ass looking superhero complete with sparkly black bat wings, red hair and feathers - of course!

The ironic thing was, this didn't detract (not that it should) from her deft vocal one iota as "Sometimes" sounded sublime, "Spend Some Time" was as good as it could be and newbee track "Addicted," my second fave on the album and surely a certainty for release, was utter magic…Joseph looked as 'at home' as any of the featured artists who have worn the Heavies' colours over the years and the great thing is, she's only just started!  Everyone in attendance would concur that the funk had well and truly taken over by this point and the place was jumping in complete unison.  "Stay Your Way" drew the show to a close but just as I was thinking, "they haven't played a couple of their most memorable hits..."

There was more than enough time to fit in a final three as the ensuing encore proved a further hit with the jubilant attendees - it was two killers and a filler to be exact… "Universe" eased it's singer into top gear, as the audience upped their participation anti - new track "Lights" took them over the funk filled finishing-line and monolith sized "Dream Come True" was the band's lap of honour, as KOKO filled with the combined effort of band, singer and audience - well one everyone!  Especially Dawn Joseph who sang, grooved and conquered! ...Impressive stuff indeed.

Photos care of B&S' Romain Kedochim - More visit ROMAIN PHOTOGRAPHY

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