Review below written by Nigel Foster
Just ‘WOW’ that one little word aptly describes the massive monumental gig I have just been a party too at one of London’s great live venues, this was shin kickin’ and super hot stuff carved out by two bands of immense attitude.
Whoever paired the two together is either of mensa level intelligence or the luckiest person in town tonight, the styles may be distinctly different but they gelled together brilliantly and created an intense electrifying atmospehere that whipped the Saurday night punters in to a frenzy.
A sonic and visual delight, the sounds and visions creating kaleidoscopic images that illuminated both venue and audience in vivid colours.
Messers Butler, Topp and Simpson bounced on stage and immediately showcased their ever increasing maturity and confidence by ripping off the opening vibe of Led Zep’s Kashmir and as Jane Pearce joined them the quartet dived headlong in to the punching rhythm and licks of Danger Zone, Pearce hitting and holding both high and low notes to rise above the wall of sound created by the guys. The pace was set and held throughout their rousing version of Shaking All Over, Alex peeling off a series of chord runs splicing up the groove and Pearce jumping over it all with a deep throaty vocal.
The band are in the studio just now with Producer and King King drummerWayne Proctor and his influence is writ large in the way the band are now approaching their music, heavier, harder and fuller with added condifence and vigour.
However, when RB do the Blues it is true Blues and comes straight from the heart as evidenced tonight on the searching tones of Pension Blues, Jane going deep and summoning up soul, Charlie and Mikey interlocking and Alex on Cigar Box guitar donning the slide bottle and tracing the frets producing the metallic scratched sounds. Belly of the Blues has become a Butler anthem and it featured again tonight, opening out in slow burn style off the back of the rhythm section lines and Alex’s intricate heartfelt licks and sumptuous solo. Pearce matched the guys with a vocal that clearly came right from the heart.
Two new numbers were showcased and hint strongly at the rockier edge to the new material, riffs splintering from Alex, splicing up the groove and Pearce punching out pawing vocals.
Show Me The Money complete with Topp and Butler duelling up and down the frets of Alex’s guitar before the hotshot Butler and Pearce went walkabout in the crowd.
The audience reaction told any newcomers all you need to know about why there is a buzz about this band.
Follow that Northsyde, consider the guannlet truly thrown down!
No surprises the band accepted the challenge with relish and proceeded to strafe the hall and crowd with an incendiary set that smouldered, burned and erupted like a volcano of sonic sounds.
Returning to the visual presence of the bands, Northsyde demand to be looked at as well as listened to. Ace on bass Ian Mauricio and skinsman Hayden Doyle ice cool and savvy, six string maestro Jules Fothergill, languid, laid back and perpetually beaming with joy. And then the lean, mean vocal machine that is Lorna Fothergill, short cropped blonde hair wrapped around her face, shape throwing and commanding her stage.
As for the sound, completely and utterly mesmeric and entrancing, a band that lay down an aural groove like no other band I have ever heard. Heavy duty funk melded together with deep rooted soul and embellished with shards of hard rock. The result, a cacophony of wonderful sounds that ebbed and flowed with a rocket fuelled energy that was infectious.
After the searching and soaring licks of Chicken Shit Northsyde stepped in to the deep and threatening vibe of Mr Sista Bitch, Jules’s jagged edged riffs more than matched by Lorna’s gutteral venemous howl of a vocal. Northside followed hot on its angry heels and was another deep swathe of sound, Jules with the slide bottle donned scorching the frets of his Les Paul and Lorna sending out a rasping soul riven vocal. When the lady is going at it full tilt she carries the threat of a predatory Leopard, the black spots replaced here by the eye catching tattoos that adorn Lorna’s arm and back.
Phil Collins calling card In The Air was given a thorough working over, I can hardly begin to describe how this classic sounded all funked up, the baclkine carving out a massive groove, Fothergill heavy duty on the guitar slaps and clipped riff and Lorna holding the voice on a itght leash.
If that nearly bought the house down the monumentally funky rendition of Stevie Wonder’s I Wish completed the job, this was hot, hot, scolding hot. Another trench deep groove carved out by Doyle and Mauricio, Jules hittting the limiter as the funk splintered off the guitar and Lorna once more pouring out a rich velvetty and deep vocal and as the paced picked up, sheer genius to segue in the licks of Ram Jam’s Black Betty and some lines from Chic. Stevie Wonder and Nile Rodgers would approve.
Brand new haunting heat seeking Dying Light was the one time the band eased off the gas and revealed some Blues roots, slow burning embers flickered and fell from the Les Paul, the rhythm section locking it all down and Fothergill prowling with menace as the lyric spilled out.
The atmosphere was red hot and really intense now and to close the set the guys invited back Jane and Alex, cajoling them to join in on a massive jam that sprawled in to Jazz, Blues, Funk, Soul and Rock territory in equal measure. Jules and Alex trading six string licks, Jane and Lorna trading viper like vocals. The audience reaction as the sound was cut ‘wild!’
A thundering ripped up Whipping Post was an apt encore for Northsyde, a band that are almost indescribable but I have tried my best.
This one really will live long in the memory, thank you Red Butler, thank you Northsyde.