February, 2009

Alice Russell @ The Bakery

Monday, February 23rd, 2009 by Cassie

On Saturday Feb 7th The Bakery’s roof was blown off thanks to the powerful voices of three talented women. These lead singers and their equally impressive band members compiled the line-up for this years’ Funk Club Ball. The annual event is dedicated to celebrating the incredible pool of talent that goes through The Funk Club’s doors and this year successfully showcased some amazing acts from both here in Perth and across the ocean.

An eclectic mix of patrons filled the venue this balmy summer night. Anticipations were high to hear the soulful voice of headliner Alice Russell and most were eager to get-on-down to the quality shows that have come to be expected of locals Odette Mercy and Her Soul Atomic and the Funk Club House Band.

Kicking off the night was Odette Mercy and Her Soul Atomic. The band filled the air with chilled out grooves and overlaying this backdrop of sound Odette Mercy’s effortless voice boomed into the night enticing people from the courtyard to start filling interior of the venue.

The Funk Club House Band hit the stage next – stepping straight into their element. Originally forming as the ‘face of the Funk Club’, they have since grown to a seven piece outfit, playing at gigs for many big international artists over the last couple of years. The vocals of Denise Wijasuria, over the upbeat and uplifting music of the band set the night into gear and ensured the number of remaining people scattered through the courtyard steadily decreased. By the time Alice Russell graced us with her tiny frame and gigantic voice, outside was completely empty and inside people tried to get the preferable vantage point to both see and dance.

Singer songwriter Alice Russell is huge in the U.K and rapidly gaining popularity across the globe, on her current tour of Australia, Europe and the U.S. After releasing Under The Munka Moon in ‘04 Russell caught peoples attention with her powerful voice that can be described as timeless – in that it matches the bluesy styles of Aretha Franklin whilst setting a new standard in contemporary vocals. Her second album release; My Favorite Letters (‘05) and collaborating with the Quantic Soul Orchestra have gained her the respect of the industry, boosting her reputation enough to carry into the international limelight. Currently touring her latest album Pot Of Gold, Russell has quite the list of references under her belt having worked with a broad range of artists such as Massive Attack, Mr Scruff, The Roots, Bah Samba and Fat Freddy’s Drop.

This Saturday she took over the stage armed with her microphone and five piece band. Their set included a number of songs from Russell’s first two albums including A Fly In The Hand and Two Steps. Pot Of Gold tracks were featured this night and a crowd pleasing moment occurred as we were led into a unique rendition of The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army. However it was the quirky lyrics and bouncy beat of brand new song Big Shiny Laser that claimed the spotlight. After seemingly finishing her set, Russell was not yet allowed to wrap things up. The audience applauded the little lady and band heartily – demanding for more! So funk filled the room one last time as Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy was dropped – her ground shaking voice matching the depth the song deserves.

Russell’s albums contain elements of different styles of music, incorporating jazz/soul/blues/pop and whilst generally upbeat in nature, have an overall chilled out lounge vibe. For her live performance she steps up a notch in funky energy and delivers a very satisfying show.

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