Lee Fields

-GORILLA, MANCHESTER-

What strikes me as I watch Lee Fields strut onto the stage, in his brilliantly blue gold toned brocade jacket, is just how brilliantly bouncy he is. Like a man half his age, his energy is infectious with, most of the crowd bouncing along with him as the night goes on.

I actually find that I do not stop smiling throughout the whole night, even as the crazy dancers in the crowd creating their own crazy space to dance their crazy moves goes on beside me. He just makes you that happy regardless of whatever’s happening.

Alongside him are the Expressions, who to me are pretty expressionless for most of the night, nondescript even, yet amazing in their upbeat endless rhythm in playing alongside Fields.

They have their individual moments, where they play instrumental as they do on their albums, without the effervescent Fields centre stage, and they do shine. They just seem to remain impassive, but I feel that they generally have that same stance come rain or shine. Even during Fields’ crowd participation asking individual Expressions whether the crowd is “good looking” and whether we have “got soul”, they both simply say that, of course, we have.

I somewhat feel they missed a trick where they should have returned the question back to the crowd with an “hmm I don’t know” – we all love a bit of playful raillery. But of course. I guess we simply have got soul.

He plays my favourite songs during the night; ‘I’ve Still Got It’, ‘Wish You Were Here’, and ‘Faithful Man’, and I could not have asked for anything more other than the pleasure of listening to all the rest of the songs played throughout the night, including more favourites ‘Special Night’, ‘Just Can’t Win’, and ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’.

His groovy funky soul along with his low throaty growls – and throaty screams, saved for the end of the night (he’d have broken his vocal chords otherwise) – are just exciting. Reminiscent of, as ever, James Brown, who he started out impersonating, there’s no better person around that can make you feel like you have caught yourself listening to soul music in the ‘60s and ‘70s..

In fact, it has been nearly 50 years in the business for Fields, yet he looks and sounds as fresh as ever. You should watch and listen to some of his YouTube videos where he just rocks up in the street or some other similarly unostentatious place, and belts out his tunes – it’s quite frankly inspiring and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. The amount of soul this guy has is overwhelming.

As my fellow reveller Max Rollins says, “If you could bottle the amount of soul, and old-school soul at that, that this guy has, then we would all become soul singers, all honey and smooth, he has never aged, he has been brilliant tonight.”

Throughout it all, the only downside of the night was when Fields outstretched his hand to sections of the crowd and I outstretched mine, and with that he moved on. Snubbed is how I felt, snubbed. But he was bloody brilliant, so I’ll let him off. I would recommend dusting off your own brilliantly blue gold toned brocade jacket – I know you have got one hiding somewhere – and getting yourself to wherever he is to groove on down with him.

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Danielle Kenneally

Silent Radio enthusiast: Silent Radio News Editor. Silent Radio Newsletter Editor. Silent Radio Reviewer. Dangerous Panda over and out.