Something magical happened at The Gasometer Hotel on Thursday night. The lighting was dimmed to sultry, red stage lights catching the smoke in the air, the oversized disco ball looming overhead, and Donny Benét (the sexiest man in music), was set to take the stage.
Silver Linings took to the stage first, to warm the audience up and set the mood. Moody it was, the gimmick of revisiting the late 70s soul movement perfectly achieved. A ‘modern soul’ trio, there was grooving side stepping, ample drum machine, and even the use of a rotary dialling phone as a prop. It was when the synth player put his sunglasses on that you knew shit was about to get sultry.
Somewhere between psych pop and acid jazz, Broadway Sounds were an unstoppable force, tenor sax intermingled with relentless bass lines. The upbeat sounds of the three piece were at a global sort of intersection, afro funk colliding with folk and soul, RnB clashing with samba. Their set slid between relaxed calypso beats and unstoppable dance grooves, one of the highlights of their set being a song featuring a drum pad, sounding like the lovechild of Pretty Hate Machine era NIN with Daft Punk.
At this point, the band room of The Gaso was packed, sweaty, dancing bodies clamouring for a place near the front, near to the legend himself. Of course, because the room was so packed, Donny Benét and his show band could barely make it to the stage.
The one-man love wonder that is the Benét was resplendent in his trade mark pink suit, brandishing his bass like the weapon of love that it is. He ripped the set open with oldie ‘Treat Yourself’, dripping with sensuality and funk, his normal one man show upping its game with the full show band – including the invaluable sax/cowbell member.
I’d gone and gotten tattooed that day, resulting in a very swollen and sore arm, but I couldn’t help but partake in the undulating dance floor. Donny just moves you, with sensuous lyrics like “I’m in the big apple/why don’t you come on and/take a bite”. Sax solos went head to head with virtuosic guitar playing, slamming into the unstoppable back to back combo of “Working Out” and “Sophisticated Lover”.
Some new tracks featured, which were received with an infinite crowd gratitude, including “Love Online” (which was a little bit too real for our Tinder-driven generation). Another new track which was raucously received was about losing love in Santorini, “I don’t want you to leave me/On the coast of Santorini”; Zorba the Greek style beats blended effortlessly into Donny’s distinctive sound.
You’d better believe that the hour-long set was rounded off with an encore, which was to be expected after the bass solo in “Give Me Heat”. The full band came back for two more tracks, throwing down the funkiest beats left, that surely left the dancefloor at the Gaso permanently damaged.
I love how music can take you places. In the case of the sexiest man in music, he takes you straight to the sensuous world of the 80s, post-disco. In the best possible way.
Learn more about the man himself here: