Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1082

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The Christians: The Anvil, Basingstoke 12/5/17

The Christians: The Anval, Basingstoke 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com
The Christians: The Anval, Basingstoke 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Christians: The Anval, Basingstoke 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Christians: The Anval, Basingstoke 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Christians: The Anval, Basingstoke 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Christians: The Anval, Basingstoke 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Christians: The Anval, Basingstoke 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Christians: The Anval, Basingstoke 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Christians: The Anval, Basingstoke 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Christians: The Anval, Basingstoke 12/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com

“We’ve just been for a vindaloo so don’t come too close to the stage” warns frontman Garry Christian. Having seen the group with a recent cut-down acoustic format I was keen to see the full band show. I wasn’t to be disappointed as the rich soul sound is there in abundance.

Garry Christian, the commanding lead vocalist, is the only remaining member of the original line-up. His vocals steal the show, they always have, and he’s got charisma and Scouse wit to carry off his frequent banter, including about his age (he jokes he is 49 but that he could pass for younger). The internet says he’s 52.

The band kicked off with “Forgotten Town” and followed with “Perfect Moment” and the funky groove of “Greenbank Drive”. Christian then wished friends in the audience, Sharon and Pete, a happy 25th wedding anniversary, but was unable to resist the quip “Pete, that was yer life mate!”

Christian’s vocals are extraordinary, he’s one of the best soul voices to come out of Britain, and when he invited the audience to their feet on several occasions during the show to clap along all willingly obliged. Nowhere were his silky and sultry vocals demonstrated better than on the track “Words” which was simply gorgeous.

There was a relaxed version of “Inner City Blues” as a tribute to Marvin Gaye, with great backing vocals from the two guitarists plus accomplished backing from bass, drums and keyboards.

Other quality tracks followed including “Born Again” and “Ideal World” before an incredibly poignant “Big Red Sky” taken from the 2015 album “We” - a tribute to the Hillsborough families. This was backed by a slideshow of powerful images of that terrible day, and received a respectful spontaneous standing ovation from at least half the audience.

Then it was back to the soul-driven beat of “When The Fingers Point” and “The Bottle” with Isley overtones. By this time many had left their seats and were dancing in the aisles. The show finished with the band’s brilliant version of “Harvest For The World” which many say rivals, or in my opinion surpasses the original Isley Brothers version.

The Christians are back touring as part of a triple-header in the autumn, with Altered Images and Midge Ure and I know who the star of that show is going to be. Well worth seeing, classic songs well delivered with awesome vocals.

PHOTOS: CHAZ BROOKS
Words CHAZ BROOKS

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