Smoove and Turrell (full band) - photo from flickr
Ok so I'm going to confess straight away that I presumed (after a pitifully small amount of youtube research) that Smoove and Turrell were a two piece outfit of turntables and vocalist, but tonight they are a full band - which is a nice surprise.
But first, Nottingham's own We Are Avengers open up having recently developed into a full band from a three piece themselves. As a musician I always prefer a full band line-up anyway so tonight was bang on! The plugging of tonights gig on Radio 6 seemed to pave the way for a slightly more mature audience than I am used to seeing at The Maze on a Saturday evening.
We Are Avengers have certainly come a long way since I first saw them at the 2011 Waterfront festival and now, in their own words, they are a “proper band”. They put on more of a show and look completely at ease on stage and the aptly named Duchess of Muchness (singer Emily Martin) is a perfect front woman for them with a voice that soars.
The rest of the band is made up of Nottingham music scene heavyweights Tommy Jones (First Blood), Raphael Achache (Arse Full of Chips), Tom Dempsey (Team Highes) and founders Tim the Rambler and Ollie “Hot Karl” Hunter who together they make a formidable six-piece delivering soul, funk, dub and triphop. They own the crowd and the stage and between each track plug their upcoming releases (quite rightly so in this day) They give an undeniably tight performance with stand out tracks; dub heavy “Revolution” and “The Loop” We Are Avengers have paved the way and set the standard for a monster of an evening.
We Are Avengers - photo by Onehaus collective
Smoove and Turrell take to the stage looking a little bit like a group of Northern lads on a night out in Manchester but absolutely blow the crowd away with a front man whose booming, soulful vocals would have any striving soul singer green with envy. Not one band member can stand still as the energy from the stage spills over and into the crowd. The live show six-piece consists of Oscar Cassidy (drums), Tim McVicar (bass), Athol Cassidy (guitar), Dave Wilde (saxophone/ flute) and Mike Porter - the most energetic keyboard player I have EVER seen and with a haircut like a medieval court jester.
Band founders Steven Move (geddit?) on percussion and vocalist John Turrell complete the line-up of this fantastically high octane funk soul machine of a band blending an acid-jazz groove, an indie/disco vibe reminiscent of the 90's Hacienda scene and completed underlying Northern Soul influence. These boys know how to make music and perform it so flawlessly that no-one in the room is capable of being stationary from start to finish.
On-stage banter shows that the band are completely at ease with each other and being in front of an audience, true examples of musicianship and showmanship, what more could the true funk/soul fan ask for. If you missed this little gem of an evening then you really missed out. Check out Smoove and Turrell as soon as you can!
Smoove and Turrell website
We Are Avengers on Facebook
The Maze website