David Wash-Lovell aka Aloe Blacc was originally in rap outfit Emanon in the 90’s before releasing his debut solo album “Shine Through” in 2006. It’s his second album “Good things” that has really raised his profile though, particularly the catchy single “I need a dollar” which was championed in the UK by Craig Charles, Jools Holland and Mark Lamarr amongst others.
This sold out show is a testament to the popularity of that song and album, and there’s an enthusiastic welcome for him and his band when they step onto the stage. They strike up the opening bars of “I need a dollar” and this blends into a soulful instrumental over which Aloe Blacc sings that he’s going to perform in a style that harks back to the days of Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. So we’re into that retro soul thing I mentioned in the Raphael Saadiq review.
From the off it’s clear that he’s got a great singing voice with a good range effortlessly moving from soprano to baritone. Most of the set is comprised of songs from his last album and his band, consisting of drums, bass, lead guitar, keyboards and a couple of UK session men on trombone and saxophone, make it funky and soulful in equal measure.
Again, like the Raphael Saadiq show I saw recently, it’s a modern day soul revue with more than a passing nod to the Motown and Stax era of musicianship, not a bad era to try and emulate. The highlight is of course “I need a dollar” which is one of those timeless songs that could have come out in any decade. A modern day classic.
Hugely entertaining and well worth checking out if you get the chance. Aloe Blacc is a soulful renaissance man and a bona fide star.