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Issue 1084

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Martha Reeves: Brooklyn Bowl, London 3/9/15

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: Brooklyn Bowl, London 3/9/15
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: Brooklyn Bowl, London 3/9/15 Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: Brooklyn Bowl, London 3/9/15 Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: Brooklyn Bowl, London 3/9/15 Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: Brooklyn Bowl, London 3/9/15 Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: Brooklyn Bowl, London 3/9/15 Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: Brooklyn Bowl, London 3/9/15 Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: Brooklyn Bowl, London 3/9/15 Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: Brooklyn Bowl, London 3/9/15 Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: Brooklyn Bowl, London 3/9/15

Martha Reeves oozes class. Back in 1964 she asked if the world was ready for a brand new beat, and people are still dancing more than 50 years later.

From the moment she appeared on stage, the Motown hitmaker was in scintillating form...The Brooklyn Bowl is one of London's quirkier venues, with a bowling alley just yards from the stage. �People are bowling?� Reeves asked incredulously as a set of pins tumbled to her left. And yet it was also a great spot for the show, the intimacy of the room meaning all in the crowd felt close to the main act.

Sadly it was to prove a night that would hit the headlines for the wrong reasons, a fight breaking out in front of the stage forcing the trio to vacate the stage. Who starts a fight while watching a Motown legend? It was bizarre. But happily the lack of class from crowd members did not throw Reeves, at 74 still a model professional.

She joked with the audience, and recounted memories about the Motown revue's five-star treatment at the height of their fame. And the hits kept on coming, with a lively, passionate version of �Jimmy Mack� bringing the audience dancing to the front of the stage. �I�ve been waiting my whole life for Jimmy, I don�t think he�s ever going to come back,� she quipped. �Heathwave� was another track that got the crowd moving, and the trio�s version of �Nowhere To Run� was stunning. It was a timely reminder of just how many hits the Motown machine had created, and how many of these tracks Martha Reeves and the Vandellas were responsible for. And she may be a veteran now, but she wears the legend crown with distinction.

A version of The Beatles� �Something� � not an easy track to perform in an intimate venue � made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and showed that her voice, as with the rest of her performance, remains strong. Reeves was constantly dancing and chattering to the crowd, displaying warmth and charm.

Proceedings were called to a halt while venue security handled the fighting, but having feared that the show had been brought to a premature close, the trio returned to the opening bars of �Dancing In The Street�. It turned in to an epic, sprawling jam drawing in verses from Eddie Floyd�s �Knock On Wood� before returning to the familiar notes of their signature tune.

It was a true feelgood show, recalling the golden years when pop and soul merged and changed the world. Brief interruption aside, it showed Reeves is still an act worth seeing, and still able to move a crowd with her stage presence.
Words Dave Burke

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