This was an intimate gig with a relaxed but ready crowd who were waiting with anticipation for The Souljazz Orchestra to animate The Kazimier’s stage. One man is stretching, possibly preparing himself for a rehearsed dance routine? Regardless, it is clear that he will be displaying his passion for soul and jazz to his favourite group. A relaxing pre-jazz tape filters into the eagerly awaiting crowd, enhancing the electric atmosphere.
The lighting dims and the support band – Mama Roux, take to the stage. A soulful supporting act, that perfectly set the scene for the events that were about to unfold. Their presence lifts the mood, encouraging the crowd to dance, and whilst this may have only been a loved up couple and the two of us, the night was bound to be good from this point onwards. The atmosphere was soaked in a soulful dreamlike haze, leaving us eager for more. Whilst Mama Roux left us wanting to listen longer to their sweet original sound, the crowd were now more than ready for the main act to break the calming wispy vibe, and enter an eccentric realm of soulful, jazzy beats which would keep us dancing all night long.
With the compulsary half an hour ‘do everything you need to now, so you miss nothing’ period filled with a make-up check, further drinks and a fresh air break, we returned back inside to find the hype was building rapidly. After exiting a dispersed floor arrangement we arrived back to find a hustled snug crowd – all with the common goal to let loose and bring out some awkward dance moves that we’d be ashamed to utilise in any other situation. The varied, loud conversations eventually slow down, as each individuals eyes widen with the presence of The Souljazz Orchestra arriving on stage.
The silence is soon broken, with a loud array of cheers from the crowd, in response to the band’s instruments’ roar. They show appreciative acknowledgement towards the crowd and thank everyone for coming. After being together for over 10 years, the band show true expertise in their genre, with comfortable stage presence and crowd interaction like no other. With a setup of 5 male members and 1 lady, there’s subtle variation in sound and voice which skilfully breaks the music up, making each song sound different. Each song is catchy and upbeat with hits from ‘Kossa Kossa’ to ‘Mista President’ echoing through the room, and no doubt down to the rest of Seal Street. These guys are sure to lift anyone’s mood. Their amazing crowd interaction pays off and keeps the crowd warmed up and ready for the rest of the gig.
Overall, The Souljazz Orchestra put on a brilliant show that any soul/jazz/funk enthusiast would enjoy. Their lively music kept the crowd moving constantly. Many people simply swayed to the music whilst others danced like there was no tomorrow. The Souljazz Orchestra seemed to have a firm fan base who showed support throughout the show and presumably made their time in Liverpool a positive experience (making the possibility of them coming back a lot more realistic- hurrah!).
Words: Meg Green and Liv Mannix