Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Brother Strut : Bowery District Reading 11/07/2015

Bs3
Bs3

Let's face it Brother Strut is a brilliant concept a bunch of first call guys who saw the sign of the times changing i.e. the dwindling demise of the session musician which was personified by Kanye West's headlining show at Glastonbury where he used precisely zilch,diddly squat musicians! .A solo flight of fancy,but that's another story,suffice to say these guys aren't in the business of sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for Jay Z to call them or whoever,they get on with their own strut and do what they do best.

Tonight's gig is a homecoming of sorts and their ever growing fans are there ready to lap it up and shower praise and admiration on these trusty,towering titans.So where shall I start? The foundation of course! The rhythm section aka 'the carpet' (an old reggae term, I might add, for drums and bass.) Frankie Tontoh on skins is a groove guru extraordinaire,his pocket is deep (like the tuning of his drums) and his beat is meaty,quite content to play simply,just laying it down as does bassist, Steve Pearce but when they get a chance to solo,or grab a spot in the limelight, (and that includes Otha Smith,their extremely tasteful guitarist) they go stratospheric in sound.They are masters of deep,pounding and highly stylised grooves which hang together tightly and connect with an earthy gut feeling keeping things fresh and funky.It's all just a masterclass in groove from these clinicians and musicians musicians whose simple remit is to serve the songs their way and do it with bags of class and inventiveness.

Leader Steve Jones is no slouch in that department either,the combination of his ballsy sax playing and keys skills make him wonderfully versatile and the perfect folly to his other half,the Arthur Daley of Dance,incredibly blue eyed soul singer and keyboardist,
Sam Tanner a cheeky chappie if ever there was one.Sam and Steve ( that has a ring to it) dress like 30's coalminers from up north and align their keyboards in a Kraftwerk style,but what makes this band so special (apart from stating the bleeding obvious!) is their highly relaxed manner in which they go about their business (their business being taking pop/soul standards outside and giving them a good kicking!)

I love the way they peer over each other as well while one of them is soloing i'ts an endearing quality to have and very supportive of each other there's a lot of love in this band just like the fab 4.I'll say it now, they are the new fab 4, err, the fab 5! Despite their occasional indulgences into fusion they stick pretty much to what it says on the can and the highlights of the show this evening were many.A classy reggae version of 'Thinking Out Loud' a stonking Billy Preston rendition of 'Nothing From Nothing' and a funk outbreak (a version so deadly it should be quarantined) on 'Sex On Fire' and many more besides.The five elements coalesced in perfect harmony- a frenetc,flamboyant funk fiesta to enrich the soul! A top night!
Words Emrys Baird

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