Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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BRINGING YOU THE STORIES BEHIND MUSIC + ESSENTIAL NEWS, REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS...

Live

Standon Calling: Standon, Hertfordshire 2nd-4th August 2013

Standon Calling: The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club 4/8/13
Standon Calling: The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club 4/8/13 Standon Calling: Smoove & Turrell 4/8/13 Standon Calling: Dave, Maseo and Posdnuos - De La Soul 4/8/13 Standon Calling: Hannah Braid - London Grammar 4/8/13 Standon Calling: Craig Charles 4/8/13 Standon Calling: Craig Charles 4/8/13 Standon Calling: Craig Charles 4/8/13 Standon Calling: Craig Charles 4/8/13 Standon Calling: Craig Charles 4/8/13 Standon Calling: Dave, Maseo and Posdnuos - De La Soul 4/8/13 Standon Calling: Smoove (Smoove & Turrell) 4/8/13 Standon Calling: Hannah Braid - London Grammar 4/8/13 Standon Calling: Dave - De La Soul 4/8/13 Standon Calling: Posdnuos (AKA Plug 1)  - De La Soul 4/8/13 Standon Calling 4/8/13 Standon Calling 4/8/13 Standon Calling 4/8/13 Standon Calling: Posdnuos and Dave - De La Soul 4/8/13 Standon Calling 4/8/13

It was great to be back at Standon Calling this year despite only being granted a day pass for the sunday only! Still I mustn't grumble, there was some quality music on offer from this very hip happening - despite the threat of rain, things held up and a good time was had by all.

First up, fledgling trio, London Grammar. A lot has been written about these young whipper-snappers already and big things are being mooted for them. Already championed by Gilles Peterson, they have a very sophisticated sound for ones so young and tender - minimalist beats, evocative vocal deliveries and a svelte shimmery, cinematic sound. Singer Hannah Braid captivated the entranced audience with her doleful yet strong vocal presence. There's shades of Florence & The machine crossed with Portishead, plus a smattering of early Christine McVie. Not a bad combination!

Starting the set with the coruscating melancholy of their debut single "Hey Now", caught the attention of the young crowd instantaneously the level of performance confidence they achieved was very high indeed. Ms Braid is a captivating focal point for the viewer and it's plain to see she has an old soul on young shoulders. Flacked by guitarist Dan Rothman on smoking guitar and the boyish (Harry Styles lookalike) Dot Major on everything else, saw the trio raise their game and acquit themselves admirably of the hype surrounding them. Their EP "Metal & Dust" made the top five on the iTunes chart in Australia. Since then, they've recorded two live sessions for Radio 1, they are now half way through an impressive 10 European festivals tour - they also have an American tour lined-up and they are ready for release of their debut album in September...WATCH THIS SPACE!

Evening saw a slice of Hip-Hop Heritage rule the roost in the form of ex-daisy ager's, De La Soul. The excitement level, just before the off, ensured that the party was going to get started and maintained by these veteran hell-raisers. Right from the off this trio of stormtroopers kicked in with an energy only classic Hip-Hop can provide, no bling, just loads of bravado and cock sure rapping!

De La Soul are known for bringing nothing but party vibes to the stage and to the hip-hop masses in general. Theyâre old hands; theyâre extremely well versed in addressing any situation (putty in their hands comes to mind!) - with this in mind, the call and response masters began their pantomime to devastating effect!

De La Soulâs three MCs â Posdnous, Maseo, and Dave whipped up the vastly different age ranging festival goers into a frenzy. They also trotted out the old 'left vs right' game, with Dave showing allegiance to one side of the crowd and Pos with the other. It's the oldest cliche in the book, but cliches works y'all!

"Pot Holes On My Lawn" sounded awesome...it's amazing to think that track is 25 years old! Older than most of the audience and still sounding banging and FRESH! This was classic Hip-Hop at its best and the group showed no signs of letting up. Theyâve lived and breathed this game for over half their lives, and it shows: collectively, De La Soul won the hearts and minds of Standon through brute force and irrepressible enthusiasm. They aren't done with just yet!

Other highlights...the jazz funk loveliness of "Saturdays", plus an epic "Me Myself &. I" saw all protractors silenced. Their wry lyricism, tough classic beats and all-round general positivity shone through - as did their indefatigable friendship. If you get a chance to catch them then do! Bombastic fey charmers maybe, but a class act nevertheless!

The Smoove & Turrell sound system had their work cut out, as they were the alternative offering to De La Soul in the Big Top. Shame, because from what I managed to catch briefly, they were on it too! Plenty of disco ditties interspersed with John Turrell's astonishing vocal interjections, some classic Wack records spun in there too. Great to hear "Slow Down" too, an epic Geordie gyrator of a tune. I caught-up with the lads afterwards and got a special preview of some of the new album. It sounded VERY good indeed and we at Blues & Soul will be waiting with bated breath on that one!

To finish off the night, a man who needs no introduction...the inestimable, Mr Craig Charles. The main man himself took to the decks just after De La Soul and his timing couldn't have been better. Turning the dance-floor into a writhing sweatbox of smiley faces, flailing arms and legs akimbo - all joined together to enjoy his roof-raising renditions of well known favourites, rare edits and remixes.

I counted 7 different wrist-bands on Craig's arm! ...he has been totally rinsing the festival circuit this summer. Yes, the 'Trunk of Funk' is alive n' well and was dishing out classics, such as Bob Marleyâs "Is This Love" remix and Nostalgia 77âs version of "Seven Nation Army" - plus a whole heap of Funk & Soul. Hallelujah! Watch out for his Fantasy Funk Band too, they have a couple of dates coming up. Cant wait!

So there you have it...a sold out festival which was their most successful. No one disappointed, like at other festivals I've been hearing grumblings about. Standon Calling continues to go from strength to strength...it will be interesting if they have picked yet another future Mercury prize winner. Time will tell.

PHOTOS: EMRYS BAIRD
Words Emrys Baird

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