SOUL REBELS – REVIEW

The subverted extension of the Rebel Soul nights, Soul Rebels, brought to the Wardrobe by promoter and DJ, Lubi Jovanovich, came to a close for the summer last Friday. Of course though, it went out in style and some mentions of who’s going to be back next time, Hiatus Kiayoute and The Hics have both been mentioned, has left everyone in excited anticipation of the next one.

To rewind to the beginning though, local rapper, wordsmith, producer, beatboxer and MC (got a few things going on there eh?) Homecut, opened the show with a display of his dazzling [C1] talent. A blend of Hip Hop and Soul lies at the heart of his sound and Homecut is renowned not only for his stylish delivery, live looping, sampling and freestyling but also his conscious lyrics. As he said, “life’s a big thing, there’s a lot to talk about.” He also indulged the audience with his bag of impressive beat-boxing trickery as he performed a solo medley of classics, which he informed us also never fails to impress his kids! This one-man band successfully started off the foot-tapping, hip-swinging and head-nodding that would progress into the frenzied dancing on display by the end of the night.

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Next up was the wonderful Fayth Hope, on her first trip to England all the way from Augusta, Texas; the birthplace of James Brown. Well, we were spoiled really. What a Woman! Accompanied by the brilliant Aron Kyne of Thabo and the Real Deal on keys; the ever-talented Matt Davies of Paper Tiger and Tantz on drums and Sam Vicary, the latest addition to the much-loved local band Ikestra, on bass; Fayth Hope was brilliantly outfitted by some of Leeds finest for her visit. She ticked all the boxes of a Soul/Neo-Soul singer: a rich, warm, smooth, acrobatic voice, beautifully formed melodies and painfully honest lyrics combined with spoken word elements reminiscent of Erykah Badu. More than bringing all these essential qualities though, she performed with such honesty, charm, intelligence and intimacy, it was as if each song was being sung personally to each and every member of the audience. The comparisons to Marlena Shaw, Jill Scott and Ursula Rucker are not undeserved. If you get the opportunity to see her, don’t miss it.

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The final band to appear was the fiery, energetic, London-based ten-piece tribe that is WARA. Fronted by some fierce women, the main singer was ON FORM in fishnets, hotpants and a wild afro, the band pumped out their own unique fusion of Cuban Timba, Latin Soca, Hip Hop, Jazz, Funk, Dubstep, and more, all drawn from the varied international musical roots of the band, in a manner reminiscent of the wonderful Nubiyan Twist – but more Latin. Their occasional use of ambient sounds or African-tinged harmonies to open a song were expertly transformed into their own brand of raucous, highly-rhythmic, ferociously tight and co-ordinated numbers. As well as the band, the crowd was a truly spectacular sight to behold, with hips swinging, popping and circling with some serious latin style.  Egged on by the impressive moves thrown around on stage, the entire front of the audience was at one point led in grinding their way down to the floor, and at another to some co-ordinated salsa dancing. Again, I’ve gotta say, if you get the chance to see these guys (and you enjoy dancing), do It!

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 As an end note there were DJ Lubi and Chris Welch (Phuture Motion) on hand to truly exhaust those who had any energy left – the d’n’b remix of the The Fugees was much appreciated. We at JAM can’t wait for this night to be back in the Autumn, taking a temporary hiatus as it is, for festival season. We will most definitely see you all on the dancefloor when the leaves are golden!

Words: Carmel Keogh,    Images: Jessica Gbadago
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