Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1094

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Kelly Finnigan & The Atonements: Jazz Cafe, London 25/1/20

Kelly Finnigan & The Atonements: Jazz Cafe, London 25/1/20 @bluesandsoul.com
Kelly Finnigan & The Atonements: Jazz Cafe, London 25/1/20 @bluesandsoul.com Kelly Finnigan & The Atonements: Jazz Cafe, London 25/1/20 @bluesandsoul.com Kelly Finnigan & The Atonements: Jazz Cafe, London 25/1/20 @bluesandsoul.com Kelly Finnigan & The Atonements: Jazz Cafe, London 25/1/20 @bluesandsoul.com Kelly Finnigan & The Atonements: Jazz Cafe, London 25/1/20 @bluesandsoul.com Kelly Finnigan & The Atonements: Jazz Cafe, London 25/1/20 @bluesandsoul.com Kelly Finnigan & The Atonements: Jazz Cafe, London 25/1/20 @bluesandsoul.com Kelly Finnigan & The Atonements: Jazz Cafe, London 25/1/20 @bluesandsoul.com Kelly Finnigan & The Atonements: Jazz Cafe, London 25/1/20 @bluesandsoul.com

The January blues got put to one side with the early bird cafe arrival of Kelly Finnegan & The Atonements, which kickstarted my gig-going 2020 and judging by the sell-out crowd, their's too. Here to promote his first solo album, "The Tales People Tell", on Coalmine Records. The lead singer of Bay Area-based indie-soul steppers, Monophonics, went about tending to his own business as he delivered a measured and polished set combining his sterling work outside the band and coupled with some choice covers too.

The stonking 6-piece band were in fine fettle too, bolstered by the rock-solid bass playing of Holley Grey and multi-instrumentalist Shawn Lee on drums. Lee's beefy drums were a pure delight, the John Bonham of soul was in the house and thoroughly enjoying backing his best buddy. These guys evoke those classic soul bands of yesteryear and set the bar very high indeed, tight, full of light and shade and masters of dynamics. Props to the horn section too, with their punchy lines and stinging solos. The backing vocals my, my, my were on point too and it's no wonder the golden girl of funk Gizelle Smith was part of the action. It was sweet salvation from these sad and evil days. The redemptive power of soul music was in full force with Kelly preaching self-love as the basis for all humanity to start with. If this guy ever became a telly evangelist he'd be a multi-millionaire overnight, to say he had the swooning audience in the palm of his hand is an understatement. You cut so deep Mr Finnegan!

The tunes came thick and fast "Smoking & Drinking", "I'll Never Love Again" (a personal hymn to my soul), "Since I Don't Have You" was my personal fave and the brilliant Brothers of Soul cover, "Dream" doing the Detroit deep soul band a proud service, proving admirably he can find an expressway to your heart! Tonight was a soul exhumation. Finnegan is the absolute epitome of blue-eyed soul and his star is firmly in ascendance.

This guy is food for the soul and I don't mean bread and water! Leaving the Jazz Cafe, as the last note lingered in the cold air was difficult. It was so hard to steal away from such a good thing...

PHOTOS: GABY GREEN & LEE TYLER
Words Emrys Baird

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