Sunday, 10 March 2013

Fringe Focus//Soul Inspiration at Threshold.

Threshold Festival sailed into the Albert Dock with its fleet and it was bountiful! 

Sailing one of those ships of the Fringe was Saeed Olayiwola with his 'Soul inspired event' at the Pan Am.From the onset I was relaxed and at ease as the staff at the Pan Am are of the warmest you'll find and it doesn't end there. Fronted by singer Hannah Ponth her band We are Blaming kicked off the proceedings with a slickness reserved for any headline act. Previously compared to bands like No Doubt they gifted the audience with melodic guitar work, great hooks and  their tightness on stage was that of not just good players but a close knit bunch.

 Following this was Marita Verstads band HYPE and  there was definitely nothing hyped about them. Their songs were big and the vocals were commanding.The girl knew her onions showing some sweet vocally led intros and ending their set with a seductively moody song 'Widow.' They even played a bit of swing between themselves as the guitarists changed guitars. I was now sporting the equivolent of a heady beer buzz in musical terms.

Chi Temu graced us with an acoustic set and I have to say that the tone of her voice was as close to edible as you could get. Delivered  cool and soulful as Nina Simone or Mica Paris she gave  as good a rendition of 'Feeling Good' as I've heard by anybody else. So cool was she that one of her songs had no title at all but memorable all the same.

The afternoon started to take on a very collective approach and it was endearing to see the different artists mingling amongst each other with gestures of support and appreciation. After the amazing Helena Johnson with equally stunning red hair to match her vocals gave us a great set with her guitarist Kobi, Sarah Kewley with virtuoso pianist Jack Hymes added a Jazz element to the occasion. So accomplished for a girl who looked so young. Claire Greenes' very emotive ballad 'alone again' had me aghast and had the essence of a of Lucy Silvas hit. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Kelly Parker who played a huge part in coordinating the afternoons delights  gave a rendition of Stevie Wonders 'As' that brought the house down and epitomised the intent of the Soul inspired Event. Assisted by Soul 4 Soul singers Amy Wilson (one of the friendliest ambassadors and sweetest singers of the afternoon) and Claire Greene they gave the Threshold crowd a gold standard account of themselves and made the Pan Am the place to be . Taylor Mitchell kept the bar raised. I'm convinced it's just around the corner for her as she had the crowd eating out of her hand. For the Soul 4 Soul girls to end the event with Womack and Womacks 'Teardrops' was for me the icing on the sweetest tasting cake and I was absolutely stuffed. 

Words by Johny Wishart. 

Threshold Festival Past...