Allen Stone at Dingwalls
The atmosphere at Dingwalls on Tuesday evening could be summed up with the words of soul singer Allen Stone: “We came here to have a motherf***ing good time! There’s no better celebration in the world than a group of wonderful people coming together for the power of music.” Throughout the hour-long set he had the audience in his pocket – arms waving and hands clapping in unison. With a smile as wide as the mouth of a river, Stone’s benevolence was soaked up by the audience who revelled in this young man’s raw talent. There’s no doubt about it: Stone is a charismatic force to be reckoned with.
With a voice invoking a young Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, Stone is vocally capable of doing pretty much whatever he wants. He can produce a screech that would make a banshee blush, while providing soft melodic rhythms that brought the house down. His band generated pulsating grooves and rigid melodies that would tempt even the most nervous and cantankerous participant to dance. It’s hard not to be swept up by his enthusiasm.
Performing work mostly from his new self-titled album, the concert was awash with songs echoing the tail end of the 60s. Gospel rhythms laced with blues and soul provided the basis for most of the music, generated by a band consisting of a keyboard, organ, guitar, bass and drums. Each member played excellently, mirroring Stone’s confidence and presence.
The group left Allen alone on the stage to sing a handful of acoustic numbers, including a cover of Bob Marley’s Is This Love, and a song he had never performed before entitled Fly, which he claimed to have written “two days ago in a hotel bedroom”. The result was the softest moment of the concert and allowed the audience to witness the more tender side to this exuberant character.
Allen Stone does not look like a soul singer. His long ragged hair, oversized glasses and crooked teeth might suggest someone not to be taken seriously. But beneath the fedora and geek chic is a true artist with amazing vocal ability and an exceptional pair of lungs. He isn’t a big name here in the UK, but if he continues to perform with the brilliance he showcased at Dingwalls, this will undoubtedly change.
For further information and future events visit Allen Stone’s website here.
Watch the video for Unaware here: