Izo Fitzroy: 229 Club, London 15/02/2017
You have to hand it to Jalapeno records, they are without doubt, one of the most refreshing independents around...they really nurture their acts (i.e Smoove & Turrell, Kraak & Smaak) and get them into the mainstream (or as close) as much as is humanely possible for a small, yet dedicated label... Their latest signing comes in the guise of a bona fide soul woman named, Izo Fitzroy, whose debut album, "Skyline", I recently gave a 4-star review. On to matters in hand and tonight, I was to find, that the proof was definitely in this artist's soul-drenched pudding...
229 was heaving and you could feel expectations running high, but despite the early sound problems, it didn't spoil the fact that Izo Fitzroy was ready to give a full account of herself. Unleashing a stream of ideas and a general sense of dedicating herself to a pure musical instinct, which she has in spades. Sat at her trusty electric piano dressed in a dazzling red suit, this platinum haired songstress tore through her material, backed by a well-honed band that included a groovy horn section, a rocksteady drummer leading a neat rhythm section and on top of it all, 6 yes 6...gospel-infused backing vocalists-now, that's my idea of a pop-up church!
Lord have mercy! You'd think she'd get swamped by her top heavy band but no, this woman has stories to tell and those distinctive, growly and throaty soul vocals everybody loves, as it came shining through. She delivered her excellent set with consummate ease, songs about empowerment, personal freedom and inward reflection. Hallelujah!
Faves of the night were "Whisper In Hurricane", dedicated to Bill Withers and "Break The Levee", which saw her heavenly choir rise up with their flawless vocal ranges. The crowd were knocked-out and one American guy from the audience in a ten-gallon stetson hat (I kid you not) said to me, "she's gonna sell an awful lot of beers!" Strange thing to blurt out, but probably true...maybe he had previously caught her act in New Orleans.
Suffice to say, we will be watching this artist closely in the future, as I'm sure that other fine arbiter of musical taste, Robert Elms, will be doing too. Do check her debut out, she's a real touch of class.
PHOTOS: EMRYS BAIRD
Words Emrys Baird