Maxi Priest is playing a busy Concorde 2 in Brighton in support of his new album “Easy To Love”. The British born South Londoner emerged from the Saxon Studio International sound system in the Eighties, and his brand of soulful Lovers Rock has been popular ever since.
He has a distinctive R & B smoothness in his voice that has found a receptive audience in America, and it’s a distinctly easy listening Reggae groove that we get to hear tonight. The band, made up of drums, bass, lead and rhythm guitar, keyboards and a female backing vocalist are tight but play with an easy looseness that keeps things bouncing along nicely.
Particular highlights are his versions of “Some Guys Have All The Luck”, covered by both Rod Stewart and Robert Palmer, and his cover of the Cat Stevens song “Wild World”. Both of these are perhaps as well known as the originals and prompt loud and enthusiastic crowd sing-alongs. It’s not all slow numbers though, his version of “Should I” is an up tempo take on the Dennis Brown classic and later on in the set a back up vocalist joins him on stage for some lively jump up tunes.
His worldwide hit “Close To You” also gets a huge reception but it’s good to note that his newer and less familiar material from the new album also go down well. “Easy To Love”, the title track off the new album, is vintage Maxi Priest with his soulful vocals showing his roots in the Pentecostal church.