Brothers Eddie and Chris Amoo, together with Dave Smith are still going strong as The Real Thing after first appearing together in 1976. (Other member Ray Lake died a few years back). They’ve been singing since the Sixties Merseybeat scene and performed alongside The Beatles, so they’ve definitely been around for a good while. This show two days before Xmas promises to be a greatest hits singfest coupled with the sounds of Brighton funk & soul DJ legend Mick Fuller – so I’m pretty much certain it’ll be a good one.
The group take to the stage to the strains of “Can you feel the force” and the up for it Brighton soul crowd are already jumping and clapping to the opening bars. Most of the band’s hits were on their first album (entitled “The Real Thing from 1976) so we know there’s going to be a few cover versions to give the crowd a bit of a show. They start with “I love music” by The O’Jays and the crowd pleasing sing-along begins. There’s a huge cheer for their classic “Can’t get by without you” (number 2 in 1976), and their voices aren’t bad considering all three are in their late fifties now. They introduce their song about Liverpool 8 (they are all from Toxteth) with a mention that “Children of the Ghetto” has been covered by Courtney Pine and Mary J. Blige.
It’s now time for the covers medley, and they launch into Chic’s “Good times”, Kool & the Gang’s “Ladies Night”, McFadden & Whitehead’s “Ain’t no stopping us now” and then Kool & the Gang’s “Celebrate”. It’s cheesier than a fondue but everyone knows these songs and it’s perfect sing and dance along, good time, party hearty music. Nothing wrong with that, and all the ladies here (outnumbering guys by some three to one) are obviously thoroughly enjoying it all.
Back to their original material and it’s the absolute classic “You to me are everything” (number 1 in 1976) which they turn into an extended crowd chant complete with a cappella verses from the group. It’s great to hear the song again and it’s the perfect way to close their main set. For an encore they do “Can you feel the force” and it’s as perfect to dance to now as it was when it came out in 1979.
Gigs like this are always good to go to as it’s a great way to look back at songs you used to dance to as a teenager in a roomful of people obviously doing the same thing. It’s nostalgic but good fun and when it’s presented with enthusiasm by original members of a band who are still up for it then it’s a guaranteed good night out. Definitely The Real Thing.