An air of excitement swept through the Metro Theatre on Saturday night, as the original four members of the influential 80s London-born acid jazz band, the Brand New Heavies, returned to our shores for an intimate, roof-raising show in Sydney.
Underneath the disco ball that was duly suspended from the ceiling, the mid-aged crowd strapped on their dancing shoes and relived the vivacious neo soul scene, as the Brand New Heavies dished out hit after funky hit from their 20 year spanning career.
Accompanied by an adept backing band, the Brand New Heavies individually and charismatically strutted on stage donning sequins, shades and top hats, getting straight down to show business with a triple whammy of "Back To Love", "Never Stop" and "Dream On Dreamer".
It was near impossible to take your ears and eyes off front woman N’Dea Davenport, who came armed with bucket loads of energy, soulful vocals and enviably groovy dance moves. They’re a band that knows how to have fun and their enjoyment was simply contagious.
Even though the British outfit’s new material was well received, it was obvious that I was amongst a throng of long-term fans, who had come to revel in the Brand New Heavies’ fêted heyday material. The band was more than happy to oblige them, performing sensual funk-drenched songs such as "Midnight At The Oasis" and "Sometimes", which had everyone singing along in unison. The adoring audience was also treated to a never-ending stream of solos, which came in all forms; trumpet, bass, guitar, sax and keys. It was impressive to see how much these purely instrumental segments aroused the crowd, too.
The highlight of the set was undoubtedly when the Brand New Heavies served up ‘You Are The Universe’, which transformed the venue into one hell of a disco inferno with its infectious upbeat tempo. There was no way the audience wasn’t going to insist on an encore after delivering that performance, and naturally, the accomplished entertainers met the deafening demands with "Dream Come True".