Quantic & Alice Russell perform in-store at Rough Trade East
Last night’s show at Rough Trade East brought together two key members of the UK’s funk and soul scene – producer and musician Quantic (William Holland) and soul singer Alice Russell – to mark the release of their highly anticipated collaborative album, Look Around The Corner.
Holland wasted no time in setting the mood for the show as he led his band, the Combo Barbaro, through an instrumental that provided a taste of the Latin and funk grooves combined with rich melodic interplay between violin and keyboard that provided the backing for Russell’s soaring voice.
Alice Russell is a singer used to playing to thousands of people; but as she walked on stage with a cup of tea, and a handwritten set list, it was clear to see she was enjoying the change to a low-key, intimate setting. After a quick “hello”, the band got straight into a set that showcased the albums standout tunes: Su Suzy, I’d Cry, and title track and first single, Look Around The Corner.
Although some of the album’s verdant production values were lost due to the limitations of this smaller setting – and the absence of a live string section – it showed the undeniable quality of song-writing talent these performers have.
Russell has a stage charisma to match anyone and had the small but packed crowd singing, clapping and (where possible) dancing. Holland has a more understated presence, content to squeeze in between the percussionists and domineering figure of violinist Mike Simmonds.
The band were obviously enjoying themselves as they stretched what was meant to be a short seven-song set out to 45 minutes of performance with various improvisations and solos. It is far from easy to impress an audience at an in-store show like this, but Quantic & Alice Russell showed just how it is done.
Photos: Catherine Bridgman
For further information and future gigs visit the band’s official website here.
Watch a live performance of Look Around the Corner here: