AVERAGE WHITE BAND, RONNIE SCOTT’S, LONDON 14/07/16
LET’S GO ROUND AGAIN. THE GOOD TIMES ROLLED AT RONNIE’S AS AN EXPANDED AND REJUVENATED AVERAGE WHITE BAND HAD THE PUNTERS ON THEIR FEET ….
The walk on music to which the Average White Band took the stage was “Let The Good Times Roll” by Ray Charles. And the good times certainly did roll.
The two original AWB members, Alan Gorrie and Onnie McIntyre have rejuvenated the band, recently enlarging the group from a five-piece to a seven-piece outfit. The sound is bigger and funkier, with additions Rob Aries on keyboards and Cliff Lyons on alto sax joining the uber cool Fred “Freddy V” Vigor on tenor sax and the accomplished Rocky Bryant on drums. The line-up is completed by the super talented Brent Carter on vocals.
The founding duo were in fine form, relaxed and in good humour with Gorrie excelling on vocals and bass. Kicking off with “I Just Can’t Give You Up” McIntryre, the much-imitated driving rhythm force behind the band’s distinctive style, hit the groove immediately, providing the heartbeat of the band. Gorrie said the group was going to get through “as much history as we can” and that’s precisely what the audience had come to see — a big slice of soul history.
Classic after classic ensued. Standout tracks included “A Love Of Your Own”, Cliff Lyons with an inspired alto sax solo, the Bobby Womack-inspired “When Will You Be Mine” and “Atlantic Avenue” both from the “Feel No Fret” album.
The very much not Average White Band is alive and kicking. The secret of the group’s longevity is McIntyre and Gorrie surrounding themselves with quality musicians, faithfully reproducing the classic AWB sound, but with room for individuality and improvisation.
Halfway through the gig and “Work To Do” brought half the audience to its feet. By the encore of “Let’s Go Round Again” and “Pick Up The Pieces” virtually all were up and grooving with arms in the air. As one Ronnie’s regular remarked on leaving “I’ve never see Ronnie’s rock like that before”.
WORDS CHAZ BROOKS