Brit Funk Comes to Life
Thursday January 12th was a night I’d been looking forward to for a number of weeks. This was to be the night I’d get to see a band perform live that had played an instrumental part in my formative years of growing up in the Essex funk and soul scene of the late 70’s and 80’s. This was to be the night that, for me at least, Brit Funk came back to life on stage.
Myself, my girlfriend and six other friends decided we’d do as we always do when making the trip up to London to see a live band and get the party bus there and make the journey part of the nights experience. That turned out to be an event in itself, driving through driving snow from Essex up in to the heart of London West End.
Originally the gig was planned to take place at the Rah Rah Rooms in Piccadilly but got change at the last minute and switched to 229 The Venue, a small basement club just off Great Portland Street.
We got there a little earlier than planned despite the bad travelling conditions and waited patiently in anticipation of the band coming on stage. This was the first time Light of the World had set foot on stage together in seven long years so we didn’t know quite what to expect from Gee Bellow, Nat Augustine and the other band members. Would they still ‘have it’? Could they still pull it all together and perform like we remember them? So may have tried and failed. I was hoping this wasn’t going to be another of those. Well, we needn’t have worried. Kicking things off with “Time” was a little unexpected but exactly what the audience wanted. We were off.
From the moment they started with the first few bars the audience were absolutely loving it and it was clear that they hadn’t lost any of that old magic and it wasn’t long before they were taking us oldies in the audience back 30 years or so with Pete’s Crusade, I Shot The Sheriff, and No 1 Girl to name just a few of the dozen or so tracks played. Oh, and whilst I’m writing this, a little about the audience. It was good to see so many younger faces in the audience who clearly weren’t around the first time Light of the World lit up the Brit Funk scene back in the 80’s but it’s clear soul and funk music clears all age barriers’ as they were all enjoying it as much as us old funkers were.
I have no idea how long the set lasted as I was enjoying myself too much but before you knew it they were on their last song and then they were gone back stage and I was left thinking ‘you know what, I haven’t heard them sing it yet’. The one song I wanted to hear more than any other and I hadn’t heard it yet. I didn’t leave disappointed. Que encore and I got to hear my favourite LOTW track “London Town” Well it made sense considering where we were. The perfect end to a perfect evening.
Gee Bellow, Nat Augustine, Mel Gaynor and the rest of the band that make up Light of the World can all take a massive bow. Not many acts can get back on stage after a seven year sabbatical and put it all together like that. A thoroughly enjoyable evening of wonderful Brit Funk music that will go down as one of 2017’s best.