Back to the show. Anderson East hails from Athens, Alabama which is a short hop skip and a jump from muscle shoals and its very much this sound that Anderson and his superb band captures tonight. He is blessed with an excellent voice that takes in fellow Alabamians Jason Isbell and Paul Janeway plus a touch of Andrew Strong of ‘The Commitments’ fame.
Over here promoting his latest album the Dave Cobb produced ‘Encore’ the set draws heavily from it. The band start as they mean to go on with a blistering cover of Ted Haskins ‘Sorry you’re sick’. The six piece band are on it and East’s voice is strong and powerful from note one. There is no point singling out any one member of the band as the sum of the various parts takes their individual skills to a different level.
It’s not long before the jacket is removed in tropical North London and with this added freedom East picks up the guitar and boy what a player. He certainly holds his own with Scotty Murray on lead and their guitar showdown near the end of the set is a joy, trading licks until their fret boards are sweating too. But it is his voice that’s the star tonight. He can turn his hand from soul to gospel, rock to southern fried boogie, ballad to foot stomper.
There is no point picking a highlight tonight as the standard is constant throughout and each band member is given room individually to shine especially the keyboard player who sets down the groove for the rest to follow.
There is no reason why East cannot make the breakthrough that St Paul and the Broken Bones and Nathaniel Rateliff have made in recent years although the downside is of course you won’t see him in small rooms like this.
After a breathless ninety minutes in more ways than one we head outside to seek solace in some cool air. Musically I couldn’t fault tonight but the lack of a functioning air con did lead to a really uncomfortable evening for this viewer and his good lady.
Keep on southern soul rockin y’all