Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1091

Welcome to B&S

BRINGING YOU THE STORIES BEHIND MUSIC + ESSENTIAL NEWS, REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS...

Live

Joel Culpepper: EartH, Hackney, London 20/3/19

Joel Culpepper: EartH, Hackney, London 20/3/19
Joel Culpepper: EartH, Hackney, London 20/3/19 Joel Culpepper: EartH, Hackney, London 20/3/19 Joel Culpepper: EartH, Hackney, London 20/3/19 Joel Culpepper: EartH, Hackney, London 20/3/19 Joel Culpepper: EartH, Hackney, London 20/3/19 Joel Culpepper: EartH, Hackney, London 20/3/19 Joel Culpepper: EartH, Hackney, London 20/3/19 Joel Culpepper: EartH, Hackney, London 20/3/19 Joel Culpepper: EartH, Hackney, London 20/3/19

Joel Culpepper may not - yet - be a household name, but it's fair to say he's got the critics onside. In the past he's been described as "the UK's answer to Frank Ocean", and his "Tortoise" EP has been making waves since its release in 2017.

Unsurprisingly there was a buzz around EartH in Hackney ahead of the 34-year-old soul singer's performance, with a large crowd packing the upstairs theatre in the impressive venue. And with a strings section, horns and a gospel choir present, it was clear that Culpepper was not content to do things by halves.

His voice is silky smooth and he has a confident but personable stage presence. The vocal range is evident in his studio work, and it's fair to say that in front of a crowd, the singer can deliver.

An early version of "Don't Mean I'm In Love" - one of the highlights from the EP - gave Culpepper a chance to show that his studio work translates flawlessly to live shows.

He had emerged onstage wearing a tux, but after a brief instrumental break came back onstage sporting shades and a far more casual look.

"Mr and Mrs Brown", which he explained was written to the parents of a wayward schoolboy from Culpepper's previous career as a teacher, was smooth and emotional, while "Afraid To Be King" was delivered with power.

"Woman", arguably his best-known track, drew huge applause from the crowd and demonstrated in no uncertain terms that he is a force to be reckoned with.

Expect big things from him in the future.

PHOTOS: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

Join the B&S Mailing List

Blues and Soul on Twitter