Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1093

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Mavis Staples: Roundhouse, London 4/7/19

Mavis Staples: Roundhouse, London 4/7/19 @bluesandsoul.com
Mavis Staples: Roundhouse, London 4/7/19 @bluesandsoul.com Mavis Staples: Roundhouse, London 4/7/19 @bluesandsoul.com Mavis Staples: Roundhouse, London 4/7/19 Mavis Staples: Roundhouse, London 4/7/19 @bluesandsoul.com

Soul and gospel legend Mavis Staples may fast be approaching her 80th birthday, but she's showing no sign of slowing down. In fact, she's arguably in the finest form of her career, following up last year's "Live In London" with new studio album "We Get By".

The live record was recorded at Islington's Union Chapel during the 2018 Innervisions Festival, and it was little surprise that festival organisers invited her back again, fresh from a well-received set at Glastonbury a few days earlier.

She drew a big crowd - which boasted people of all ages - to The Roundhouse on a warm Thursday night, and it's fair to say they were richly rewarded for coming out. As this force of nature, with her distinctive gravelly voice filled the venue, as it did at her incredible shows a year ago.

"Slippery People" and "We Get By" were assured and powerful, and "Build A Bridge" drew justifiable applause from an enraptured crowd.
Mavis oozes charisma. Between tracks she jokes with the audience, even declaring her intention to stand for president and imploring audience members to vote for her.

She recounts marching with Dr Martin Luther King before a spellbinding version of "Change" and was clearly overjoyed that her family, including two granddaughters, are watching on from the side of the stage.

Her energy is incredible, I've seen performers a quarter of her age struggle to put as much as Mavis does into her shows. "Touch A Hand" and the brilliant "No Time For Crying" was bold and strong, and showed an artist still at the peak of her powers.

Last year's gigs were among the highlights of last year, and the Roundhouse show will take some topping in 2019.

On current form, expect Mavis to come kicking and screaming into her 80s.

PHOTO: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

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