I didn’t know who Brother Strut were, but after their gig tonight (12/10/17) at the O2 Academy I most certainly do.
Formed back in 2012, Brother Strut are a funk-soul act with saxophonist and producer Stevie Jones. The group includes Paul Turner (bass), Sam Tanner (keys and vocals), Frankie Tontoh (drums) and Otha Smith (electric guitar). Reading upon their biography, they have collectively worked with some of the music’s biggest artists, including Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Sting, and the late George Michael to name just a few. These boys meant business, but their music tonight was strictly for pleasure.
This was a serious funk-soul act. Throughout the night Tontoh made sure we noticing his mid-tempo, hard funky beats, while Jones’ super-addictive saxophone playing delighted the crowd. Opening up with ‘Metropolis’ – a jazz-infused funk number with a fine hook. This was a call to arms for everyone to forget their stresses and to just dance the night away. Following into “Bags of Funk” , a killer funk-soul track with an infectious guitar section and opportunities for each member of the band to show off their skills.
What stood out for listeners tonight was the way that the band effortlessly remastered popular songs and played them back to back. It took me until the chorus to realise that the band were playing an excellent cover of “Sex On Fire” by Kings of Leon, before seamlessly playing the chords to Bill Withers’ “Just The Two Of Us”.
Tanner was a true showman, getting the enthralled crowd to interact with each song while strutting around the stage and feeling the groove. The best songs of the night were not their original songs, but rather their reimagined version of D’Angelo’s “Brown Sugar” with sunshine reggae undertones that moved into Oliver Cheatham’s “Get Down Saturday Night”. Anyone who wanted to bust out a move on the dance floor, this was their perfect opportunity.
All in all, Brother Strut had a furious set of songs. Fresh, funky, and fabulous – this is classic 70’s American funk all jazzed up with modern flavours. You can never go wrong with a bit of funk in your life – and Brother Strut certainly set the bar high.