Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Smoove & Turrell: Hootenanny, Brixton, London 10/03/2023


Like a fine wine, this outfit gets better with age, so the buzzing vibe of Brixton’s Hootenanny was home to North East soul marauders Smoove & Turrell, who were in London on a double mission.

Firstly a south London gig and then an early morning TV slot on Soccer Am the following day, promoting their fab new single "IGOTCHA" which incidentally, got a great reception tonight which was handy, as it also happened to coincide with its release date.

Kicking off with "Do It" from their "Stratos Bleu" album was a good move and got the audience onside and dancing immediately. The sound was good at the Hootenanny with John Turrell’s imperious vocals riding gloriously high. A man emboldened with a rich-sounding, soulful tenor was always going to win through as he and the band tore through their impressive repertoire.

"It Ain’t Working" (ironically it was) full of stripped-down blessedness, which this band has in spades dynamically speaking, sounded superb, especially the choppy Chic style guitar which is a predominant sound - good to hear the guy let rip too, the boy has some chops!

Left-leaning mosher, Mike Porter on keys half perched on his keyboard (no doubt ready to jump on anybody who tries to nick his pint) was a marvel too, sorting the bleeps and laying down some groovy organ and maintaining/sequencing the novation bass blurbs.

"IGOTCHA" showed a further introspective side too with its sweeping strings and major power chords giving it touches of The Who meets A-Ha. Suffice to say, it was a well-measured set ending with "Beggarman", which neatly morphed into (after a fine conga break) "You Could've Been A Lady".

Smoove & Turrell ooze confidence giving you a feeling that those good times will come back around and what’s more they have the talent to back it up ensuring a top night was had by all.
Words Emrys Baird

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