Hare and Hounds,Kings Heath
@Tiggerlion introduced me to Zara McFarlane with his championing of her most recent album Arise. It is fair to say that said album got way more than the statutory 6 plays in my house and so I was excited to hear she was playing in Birmingham. Tuesday night was bitterly cold and it would have been easy to stay in the house. Thankfully I made the effort and was rewarded with an incendiary show. As good as her recorded voice is there were moments in this show where I was frankly blown away. For instance during Feed the Spirit a song from her first album there was a sparring match between her scat vocals and the drums/double bass – her voice miming a sax and adding ululations of the African tribal singers. You had to be there to experience it but I don’t think I have ever heard the human voice used in this way – it was breathtaking. We also got an extended Police and Thieves, Fisherman which is a Congos cover and Fussin and Fighting also extended. Throughout there was a myriad of influences obviously the Reggae of her upbringing, Calypso and some Black Market era Weather Report. The Rhythm section was first class and allowed the Saxophone and keyboards to wander wherever the muse would take them. At the end of the set she promised she would be back very soon. I for one cant’t wait.
Small but perfectly formed. There may have been around a hundred and fifty people there – I suspect the next visit will be significantly larger. They were enthusiastic and there was a lot of dancing and singing by the end of the show. If there is one small gripe it is that she slowed the mood down with the ballad Silhouette just after a couple of high energy songs – that may have been better earlier in the set but in fairness she did get the moodaright back up for the finale.
It made me think..
Weekday nights, sweaty bar and and music to make you move is life affirming. Come back soon Zara.