Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Hannah Williams & The Affirmations + Crowd Company Rah Rah Room London 10/11/2016

Han1 Han2 Han3 Han4 Han4 Crowd1 Crowd2 Crowd3

Opening act the ubiquitous Crowd Company were on top form tonight.Rob Fleming relaxed into proceedings safe in the knowledge he has assembled some mighty fine homegrown musicians...a crisp and punchy horn section and notably, keys man Claudio Corona, whose funky organ playing cut through the mix majestically. Plenty of female action on the vocals too, namely Emma Divine with a smashing version of Anne Sexton's "I'm Losing You" and the equally divine Esther Dee also stepped up to the plate with the chunky, riff laden (Minnie Ripperton's) "Adventures In Paradise" Crowd Company were good company tonight and set the scene admirably.

Up next the affirmations who kicked off with the only instrumental of the entire evening the gloriously fresh sounding and spanish enthused '7AM To Seville' ( for those erudite readers Seville is the birthplace of flamenco and not Madrid) they sounded like they were raring to go as was the lady herself Hannah and her backing vocalists adding a glorious gospel inspired touch to all the new tunes showcased tonight.Ms Williams was in fine fettle and is quite the performer.The new album (see our review section) sounded every bit as good as the recording which transformed into a Stax infused Muscle Shoals-deep soul shizzle of an explosion, bolstered by a weighty wonderful horn section (baritone all night baby!) with Ms Williams and her backing singers bang on the money tearing through the material which hangs together surprisingly well though there is a dip half way through but thankfully not for long.Her band give it their all too,most notably guitarist Adam Holgate,bassist Adam Newton,John Pratt on Baritone sax and drummerJai Widdowson-Jones

Highlights were many but her real bent is for ballads,'In Your Arms' and 'Your Luck Can Change' saw our lass positively soaring with the golden eagles and the earthy sounding 'Woman Got Soul' catchy and hook laden, really cut the mustard with audience participation affirming it's goodness.

Ms Williams has never sung any sweeter or more powefully than she does tonight put simply it was a towering performance as was their killer version of Led Zeppelin's 'Dazed and Confused' which sounded magnificent a sweet and dark groove with rising brooding horns,skanky wah guitar.It sounded as if Jimmy Page had written it especially for her! Suffice to say Hannah owned it and consequently the whole evening.Watch out for her she is touring Europe so try and catch her.....
Words Emrys Baird

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