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Live Music: Alice Russell Live in Bristol (Review)

02/12/2009

Alice Russell is fast becoming one of my favourite artists. I’ve only known about her for the last 2 years or so, but in that time I’ve made it my mission to collect as much of her music as possible. I own all her albums, plus a significant number of her numerous collaborations with artists such as Quantic, TM Juke and Bah Samba.

I’ve heard nothing but great things in relation to her live shows, and so earlier this year I planned to catch her  when she was performing in my home city. Sadly by the time I got round to getting tickets the gig was sold out. Thankfully, to celebrate the official UK release of Pot Of Gold and the Pot Of Gold: Remixes album, Alice decided to tour again, however this time it involved a three hour round trip to catch her at my nearest venue.

Before I get into Alice’s performance I’d like to mention the support act The Heavy. They only performed 4 or 5 tracks but I instantly liked what I was hearing. Their sound is a fusion of rock and soul, with elements of hard funk and even a little bit of reggae thrown in for good measure. If i’m honest they are not what I would usually go for, however their short set impressed me so much that I intend to grab both of their albums at the earliest opportunity.

Now this show was billed as ‘Alice Russell’ , which to all intents and purposes is what we got, however the show was so much more than just Alice singing away to tracks from her impressive catalogue. Her band also deserve a (big) mention as they came close to stealing the show on a couple of occasions, especially Jack Baker (of The Jack Baker Trio) on drums and Ben Jones on keys. Alice has been performing with these guys for some time now, and it really shows. The chemistry between them is amazing, and when the band are not playing they are either dancing, singing or generally acting up. much to Alice’s, and the audience’s, amusement.

The main focus of the show was on Alice’s newer material from Pot Of Gold including ‘Two Steps’, ‘Turn and Run’, her fantastic cover of Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’, the super-funky ‘Got The Hunger’, ‘Living The Life Of A Dreamer’ and new single ‘Let Us Be Loving’. She also performed older favourites, such as ‘Fly In The Hand’, ‘Munkaroo’, ‘Humankind’ and her cover of the White Stripes ‘Seven Nation Army’. To be honest I think she could have sang just about anything and still drove the crowd wild, it was obvious from the moment she first stepped onto the stage that most of the audience were die-hard fans just grateful to hear her fantastic vocals. Well she definitely did not disappoint, every track was sang like it was her last performance, and I didn’t hear a single dropped note throughout the entire set (eat your heart out X Factor!).

It is very difficult to pick highlights, from what I’m sure will be the best show I’ve been to this year, however if pushed I would have to chose two. First would be ‘Big Shiny Laser’, a new track that I’m hoping and praying will be released in some form soon. The track has a slight 80’s vibe, and showed both Alice and the band off at their very best. The second highlight would have to be her slowed-down performance of ‘Hurry On Now’. This track has appeared on several of Alice’s releases, each time either as a remix, or  with an alternative arrangement, and is definitely one of my favourites from her.

Sadly I didn’t manage to get any footage on the night, but here is a video of Alice performing ‘Big Shiny Laser’ at a Toronto show earlier in the year.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Digby permalink
    03/12/2009 12:37 pm

    Here is a video of Alice from the Bristol gig reviewed above http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMEvWd91aD4&feature=youtube_gdata

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