Warming up a hot and rapidly filling Globe in Cardiff was Mi’Das, tonight one man and his electric guitar and box of tricks. His music was contained within jazz and funk groove as he played a selection from his E.P; Stronger and the single from the album Too Little Too Late is perfect for the soul in his voice and funk in his fingers. He certainly got the audience excited for Brother Strut and there funky grooves.
Brother Strut excites the audience wherever they play live and tonight, their first time in Wales, the audience had travelled to see the band that knows how to lay down a groove! The band is the coming together of five musicians who have worked with some of the world’s biggest artists. Brother Strut are a quintet combining a powerhouse of a rhythm section of Frankie Tontoh on drums and bassist Steve Pearce with up front musical director, Steve Jones who plays a tuneful tenor sax and keys, Otha Smith with his delightful guitar riffs and pianist and lead soul-drenched vocalist Sam Tanner. The band stormed the stage full of verve and the sheer delight of playing infectious funk, soul with a twist of jazz to spice the mix up this is new funk for the here and now. At the heart of the set list were tracks from their debut album First Strut Is the Deepest interspersed between were tracks from Kings of Leon, Grovers Washington and Billy Preston the one thing for certain was whether playing their own Strut stuff or covers the timing was perfect and the result on Friday night in Cardiff was dancing and a contagious need to smile and let the music light up the hot July night.
The atmosphere was hot and electric and as the gig went on this just grew and grew to fever pitch as everyone had the chance, to dance, punch the air and sing along we were having pure unadulterated high energy fun courtesy of a band who plays live music with a funked up attitude. The music has a modern feel that has its musical influence deep in New Orleans, Chicago and Detroit mixing blues, with funk and the New Orleans fast playing high energy free from but never anarchic of manic jazz. We had the opportunity to join in the Brother Strut sway, a bit of authentic Reggae adding to the variety of the mix of styles to get the audience to connect with Brother Strut live music style. Every track played had a special place in the set and fitted in building the groove, deepening the groove and giving Strut’s groove tonal colour and variation. The stand out tracks of the evening were Bags of Funk, where the saxophone gasped and cut through the music the soul in the rhythm from the guitar is deep and full of warm passion just makes this music full of funk and feel that excites and sends your music and into a spin. The other had to be Billy Preston’s Nothing For Nothing what a glorious delivery of this classic number.
The whole set was fast setting feet-tapping, hips jumping and then the dancing began, on stage the musicians continued to inter-play with an almost telepathic communication so that the free, jam feel was always disciplined with a clear shape and structure. The two key boards never collide it was as if they played lead and rhythm as two guitars so often do on stage; chord structures never clashing only deepening and strengthening the warm honeyed soul with a funky attitude.
The last number Chicago left the room wanting more and if they could we wanted them to just play on the atmosphere was hot and the music hotter still.
Brother Strut @ The Globe Cardiff – 19th July 2015