Forget Rock The Casbah – last week it was all about Rock the Scala with Jose James performing at the former cinema near Kings Cross, London.
As James entered the smoke filled stage electrified by Brad Allen Williams‘ guitar the crowd erupted into wild cheers. No one stood still as James launched into the drum and bass filled ‘Angel‘ followed by ‘U R The 1‘. Looking round the room it seems this new album had brought Jose a new fan base, much younger than I’d previously seen.
Taking it down a notch or two, James let the hyper crowd recuperate for a moment to ‘While You Were Sleeping‘ beautifully accompanied by backing vocalist and album contributor Talia.
Earlier in the night the Support Act came from a petite soul singer Ego Ella May with definitely nothing small about her talent. I could have happily listened to a whole night of her hypnotic sound, my favorite songs being ‘Underwater‘ and ‘Love Hard’ but it was her rendition of Crystal Waters ‘Gypsy Woman’ that really got the crowd grooving along – I really want her to release this one.
Flip back to Jose James accompanied by Richard Spaven on drums, Kris Bowers – Keys and Solomon Dorsey – Bass, each musician had their moment to shine through the night, starting with James’ stripped down, slow and sexy version of Al Green‘s ‘Simply Beautiful’. For those who came wanting to hear those dulcet tones of Jose’s he didn’t disappoint here at all – it was as if this 40 year old song was made just for him. Kris Bowers too left the crowd breathless with his extraordinary solo piece and with the absence of Takuya Kuroda, the crowd were treated to Brad’s singing guitar in place of the trumpet as featured on the album version.
But there was no time for winding down and getting all lovely-dovey as James cranked the octaves up to perform ‘Anywhere U Go‘ and ‘Every Little Thing‘ the kind of songs that made you pray you wouldn’t get moshed.
No Jose James concert would be complete though without a demonic filled Jose spitting voodoo lyrics over the drums of ‘Park Bench People‘ with Spaven like a man possessed by the rhymes thrashing around on the drums, leaving the crowd mesmerized by what they had witnessed. And as the evening came to a close all that was left was for Jose to perform his classics ‘Come To My Door‘ and the heart melting ‘Do You Feel‘ before the lights came up and time was called on the spectacular show.
Did you see Jose James at the Scala Club recently? What did you think? let me know your thoughts