Gig Review + Photography by John McEvoy

The Irish Centre in Leeds saw the original funksters Average White Band play to a packed 800 capacity crowd, delivering a fizzing 90 minute set. Able support by DJ Lubi and Gip Damone, delivered a smoothly delivered funk and soul set to get the crowd in the mood.

Average White Band

Since the birth of AWB way back in 1972 they have gone through several line ups, and founding members Alan Gorrie and Onnie McIntyre along with their new line up including their fine horn section made up of Fred Vigdor and Cliff Lyons were in fine form from the very start. The bands appeal to people of all ages was there for all to see, and this was immediately apparent when I spied the long queue waiting to get into the venue. Also the continual sampling of their back catalogue for hip hop samples for acts such as Eric B & Rakim and the Beastie Boys has ensured that their music has remained in the public eye throughout the years.

Average White BandAverage White Band

The Leeds crowd were ready to party as soon as they hit the stage at just before 9:00pm and Brent Carter on vocals (a voice which reminded me of a cross between Luther Vandross meets Alexander O’Neill) worked the crowd from the off with their opener ‘I Just Can’t Give You Up’. ‘Whatcha Gonna Do For Me’, one of my personal favourites didn’t fail to deliver the goods. Their cover versions of the Dionne Warwick classic ‘Walk On By’ and the Isley Bros ‘Harvest For The World’ were rapturously received be the capacity crowd.

Of course the majority of tonight’s crowd were waiting to hear their 2 biggest tunes, and they didn’t disappoint. A blisteringly funky version of ‘Pick Up The Pieces’ from ’74 brought the set to a close, and the crowd were in no mood to finish dancing and demanded an encore. AWB duly obliged and brought the evening to a close with the ageless dance classic ‘Let’s Go Round Again’ which still sounds just as fresh 37 years later!

Average White BandAverage White Band

AWB have been around for 45 years now, and based on last night’s performance this reviewer thinks they’re still sounding as good as ever and their clear crossover appeal to all ages will ensure that their particular brand of dance, funk or whatever you want to call it, will be around for a lot longer yet. If they come to your town, I would recommend you get yourselves along. You won’t regret it.

Set list:

I just can’t give up
The Jugglers
Whatcha gonna do for me
A love of your own
I’m the one
Walk on by
Work to do
When will you be mine
Cut the cake
Harvest for the world
Pick up the pieces

Encore:

Let’s go round again

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