Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1088

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Mavis Staples: Union Chapel, London 9/7/18

Mavis Staples: Union Chapel, London 9/7/18 @bluesandsoul.com
Mavis Staples: Union Chapel, London 9/7/18 @bluesandsoul.com Mavis Staples: Union Chapel, London 9/7/18 @bluesandsoul.com Mavis Staples: Union Chapel, London 9/7/18 @bluesandsoul.com Mavis Staples: Union Chapel, London 9/7/18 @bluesandsoul.com Mavis Staples: Union Chapel, London 9/7/18 @bluesandsoul.com Mavis Staples: Union Chapel, London 9/7/18 @bluesandsoul.com Mavis Staples: Union Chapel, London 9/7/18 @bluesandsoul.com Mavis Staples: Union Chapel, London 9/7/18 @bluesandsoul.com Mavis Staples: Union Chapel, London 9/7/18 @bluesandsoul.com

For fans of soul, reggae and hip-hop, this year's Innervisions Festival was a must. Over two weeks, venues across London hosted some of the finest artists the venue has produced, with Angie Stone, Jimmy Cliff, George Clinton and Lalah Hathaway just some of the names to perform.

It was fitting that the Union Chapel was the venue for soul and gospel legend Mavis Staples. This gothic venue is one of the capital's hidden treasures, and during her set Staples proceeded to take the audience to church, quite literally.

A force of nature who learned her craft in church, Staples remains - at the age of 79 - one of the outstanding voices releasing material.

Her most recent LP, "If All I Was Was Black" is an outstanding record, and it was no surprise that both nights she performed in London were sellouts.

"If You're Ready" sounded phenomenal as she took to the stage at the start of her set.

In the days before the show I'd been engrossed in an excellent biography of the singer, describing her initial discomfort at going it alone after performing for years with her father and siblings in The Staples Singers.

Hers is a voice which was always destined for fame, and her decades of performing shone through as she showed what she can do.

She and the Staples Singers provided the soundtrack for the civil rights movement and were close friends with Dr King, and she continues to share powerful messages in her music to this day.

A cover of Talking Heads' "Slippery People" had the audience in awe, and "What You Gonna Do?" sounded majestic. "Love and Trust" and "No Time For Crying" were delivered with raw emotion, and over her 16 song set, Staples showed how she can command a crowd as she approaches 80.

It was an uplifting ode to her gospel roots, and "Touch a Hand, Make A Friend" provided a perfect end to an incredible set.

Artists far younger than Staples can learn a lot from her stage presence, and it was superb to see a bona fide legend in the perfect setting.

PHOTOS: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

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