Soul Rebels 2016 Opening Party @ The Wardrobe 6/2/16

Soul Rebels triumphantly returned after the Christmas break with a huge night of music from Leeds College of Music students. The three very talented acts were broken up by Soul Rebels DJs, who played great tracks all night including D’Angelo, Kendrick Lamar with even some Drake thrown in for good measure.

First on stage was electronic producer Dulahli, who at points was joined on stage by some of the 8mana crew who rapped, their voice blending perfectly with Dulahli’s intricate beats.

Next was Michael Bird performing alongside a seven piece band, who had the audience in the palm of his hand from the moment he opened his mouth to reveal his soulful and powerful voice. He immediately showed off his vocal range with a huge first track as he slipped into falsetto, his voice complimented by the band, which with two drummers gave a plethora of beats. In ‘Nature’, a song of his recent EP, he showed the softer side of his voice, with tight harmonies from the two soulful backing singers. Ending on a massive high note, his last song was a cover of ‘Ain’t Nobody’ which had the whole audience dancing.

If I was going to make one criticism of Michael Bird’s set it would be that it could have been very tricky to follow, yet Kalyan rose to the challenge, delivering a high energy set with contagious happiness. The soul/dub/jazz/hip-hop 10 piece collective opened beautifully, with smooth beats, a building guitar riff, and echoing vocals – the many different layers of music being central to the excitement around the band. Tracks like ‘Groove K’ and ‘Magnolia’ highlighted the talent of Kalyan, with the singer sweetly slipping into falsetto and huge instrumental solos. After leaving stage, cheers from the audience called them back to perform ‘Soul Searching’, the perfect way to finish their set as saxophone player and wild dancer Miles Christian joined on the vocals.

Soul Rebels did exactly what they promised to do by delivering a huge night of great soul music and I personally can’t wait until their next one.


Polly Hatcher

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