Review + Photos by John McEvoy

Bank Holiday Sunday and Huddersfield is treated to eight hours of Soul, R&B, UK Garage and Reggae provided by Soul II Soul, Damage and a whole host of DJ’s and rappers including DJ Spoony, and luckily the sun shone!

Soul II Soul 4

Now in its second year, Love 4 Music is a small one day dance festival created by Cultural Events Promotions, and whilst it would be fair to say that this event was by no means a sell-out, it would be equally fair to say that this is a festival very much in its infancy, but shows great promise, and has all the potential to become a bigger and permanent fixture in an already busy festival schedule in the UK.

There were 2 stages with DJ’s and rappers/toasters on the smaller stage and bands on the main stage with additional DJ sets throughout the day. Surprisingly Shola Ama was up first up on the main stage and ‘You Might Need Somebody’ from ’97 still sounded as good as ever. Sadly this was the only track that I caught due to bad planning on my part I hasten to add, and it was clear from the outset that the crowd were there to party and you would be hard pushed to come across a friendlier bunch of people at any gig or festival.

Crowd 1

Crowd

Manchester based DJ collective Soul Central (Paul Mac & Brian ‘Bizzy’ Pemberton) took to the stage to deliver a blistering set of tunes, and as far as I’m concerned, anyone who plays Mantronix is on the money as far as I’m concerned. It was also good to hear that old Rob Base, DJ EZ standard ‘It Takes Two’ given a run out.

A new name to me, UK Garage exponent Mike Delinquent took to the stage and delivered an interesting set which initially started out as the standard DJ set up, but quickly morphed into a full band set up including a strings section and was well received by the appreciative crowd, and his album ‘Bridging The Gap’ is well worth checking out.

Soul Central

Mike Delinquent

Later it was time for 90’s R&B boys Damage to take to the stage and on the basis of this performance the ladies still love ‘em! ‘Wonderful Tonight’ and ‘Forever’ showcased their harmonies are still as tight as ever and ‘Ghetto Romance’ and ‘Love II Love’ were genuine standout tracks from their set.

Vocally one of the highlights of the day must go to the mighty Lifford Shillingford a soul singer extraordinaire. A Britain’s Got Talent entrant, his voice is comparable with any other soul singer you care to name and his delivery and passion was a sight to behold. Honestly, this guy is too good to go on these soulless talent shows as far as I’m concerned. This is a name to keep a look out for, and with a little luck this man could be huge…

Damage 1

Shillingford

Early evening saw the Reggae/Dancehall DJ Robbo Ranx take to the decks to deliver a thunderous set made up of cuts both old and new, to what was clearly a knowledgeable crowd, and then the decks were handed over to DJ Spoony, who is regarded as one of the pioneers of UK Garage and R&B.

Spoony has been doing this for over 20 years and his skill on the decks was another one of the highlights of the day. Despite what seemed to be an initial technical problem, he soon had the crowd moving as the sun began to go down and the stage was then set for headliners Soul II Soul to take to the stage.

Robbo Ranx

Spoony 1

Ironically it’s now 30 years since the seminal ‘Back To Life’ was released, and I can safely say that in 2019 it still sounds as good as ever. Once the band are on stage, it then falls to Jazzie B to accompany Caron Wheeler onto the stage and it’s straight into the aforementioned ‘Back to Life’ which is delivered by band as tight as you will find anywhere, all driven at the back by Jazzie B on the decks.

Vocal duties are then taken over by Charlotte Kelly who has been band member for many years and she’s the owner of truly great voice. Soul II Soul have become a regular feature at festivals every year and base on today’s performance it’s clear to see why. The past present and future for Soul II Soul is very bright and of course ‘With a happy face, at thumping bass for a loving race’ you can’t go wrong. Catch them this summer if you can.

Soul II Soul 1

Soul II Soul 3

As I mentioned at the start of this article, this is a one day festival still in its infancy, there were one of two technical issues along the way, but these didn’t detract from what was a great day. Friendly crowds, good music and sunshine are the perfect ingredients and it’s a credit to the organisers for putting this show together. Part of me would like to see this event stay as it is, but I suspect this will event will only get bigger and better in the future.

Here’s to 2020…!

Soul II Soul 5

See the complete photoset from Love 4 Music Festival 2019 here.

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