Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1088

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Andy Allo: Pizza Express Soho London 13/3/2018

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Cameroon-born singer/guitarist and songwriter Andy Allo popped into town to deliver a late night set to what seemed to be a bunch of 'in the know fans'. She has quite a following, as the reception she got when she hit the stage around 11.30 pm was pretty ecstatic...

From the off her soft, breathy yet highly emotive singing coupled with the gorgeous warm tones emanating from her big old jumbo guitar drew the crowd in with her starry presence, here she was dressed in black - looking like a young Audrey Hepburn - ready to let the magic of the night unfold.

She is a beguiling songstress full of bonhomie and big smiles and her restrained but confident manner (not unlike Melody Gardot's approach) will definitely stand her in good stead as she poured out a mixture of covers and originals with good grace, humour and energy.

"Let's Get It On" was a definite 'crowdpleaser' as she teased the audience into some audience participation - no doubt a trick she learnt from her old boss, Prince! (she was in the NPG and had a position as co-lead vocals and additional guitar player during 2011-2012)

Sultry "When Stars Collides" from her excellent album "Superconductor" cut the mustard too - her subtle vocal vibrato is a real strongpoint - enabling her to emit that undertone of confused love mixed with resilience that pop up lyrically in her songs. She's pretty good at organic mashups too fusing, Bob Marley's "Waiting In Vain" with Springsteen's "Dancing In The Dark" then into her own tune, "Yellow Gold".

This was a consummate performance that raced by, which is no wonder, as the 'emotional bar' had been set high from the start. The club like atmosphere of Pizza Express proved to be a winner too as it lit the way for an enthralling evening of entertainment. Here is an artist reenergised and hitting her stride, which was just as well, because Ms Allo has heaps of stage presence and a bunch of classy songs backed by nearly 10 years experience and perspective to draw from.

PHOTOS EMRYS BAIRD
Words Emrys Baird

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