This is more of a half-dayer as it’s running from 17.00 until 4.00, but good to see Craig Charles putting an event like this on in Brighton and also for playing down here fairly regularly as part of his Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show.
It’s also a good showcase for local record label Tru Thoughts, who have a couple of live acts on tonight prior to Craig Charles’s set. The label is celebrating 15 years in the business this year and look to be going from strength to strength, continually signing interesting and innovative artists.
First up is veteran of the UK Hip Hop scene Ben Chijioke, better known as Ty. His DJ is Billy Biznizz another UK Hip Hop veteran and together they put on an entertaining show that involves the audience throughout. Ty keeps up some good natured banter throughout the show, and the crowd enthusiastically responds to Hip Hop’s Mr Motivator. A good way to kick off a set, Ty’s assured performance is what UK Hip Hop should be all about.
Next is Harleighblu, a young Soul singer from Nottingham who has been signed to Tru Thoughts for a couple of years now. Her debut album is called “Forget Me Not” and she runs through a selection of songs from this backed by a bass player, guitarist and backing singer. Her take on Soul infused with Hip Hop drums gets the head nodding, but there’s something about the smoky quality of her voice that doesn’t do a great deal for me. She does a good take on the Eurythmics’ “Who’s That Girl” but apart from that her songs sounded a bit too samey to my ears. My favourite track of hers is “Play Me”, check that out and you’ll see what I mean about her voice.
Last of the live acts for the evening are Fat 45. They’re a Brighton 11-piece (not a Tru Thoughts act) who’s lead singer Dale introduces them as a “Jazz, R ’n’ B, Jump Jive, Swing band”. A good enough description as their rip roaring take on 40’s and 50’s Swing definitely keeps the crowd jumping. Think Louis Jordan or Louis Prima and you’ll have some idea of their uptempo swinging sound. Proper party time music with infectious grooves coupled with light hearted lyrics, absolutely great to dance to.
I didn’t stay for Craig Charles set as he’s a regular fixture in Brighton now, but check out this previous review. Basically, he plays a high octane mix of Funk and Soul that’s guaranteed to keep a dance floor full. A great night out and well worth a visit.