I feared that this would attract a small audience, perhaps being a bit too ‘hip’ for the mostly seniors audience. How wrong I was! The stalls and dress circle were full to the brim with people with fond memories of the 1960’s. A lot were probably teenagers when Motown music invaded our shores, no doubt horrifying their parents with its sexy sounds.
Stratosfunk are consummate performers of this retro genre. A high energy nine piece band fronted by the delightful vocalist Yara Neto and her fabulous backing singers Amy Rosato and Jessie Gordon.
The band looked hot and sounded hotter! The men snappily dressed, the ladies resplendent in vivid blue sequined full length gowns. There was the requisite horn section, so essential to the Motown sound; bass, guitar, keys and drums filled out the line up. They were a tight unit and gave a terrific performance.
Launching into ‘Please Mr Postman’ with verve they swept the audience up into feel good mode from the first note
Not only are Stratosfunk a superb musical ensemble, their staging is totally true to vintage Motown showmanship. It was hard to tear your eyes away from the groovy moves performed in perfect synch, by Amy Rosato and Jessie Gordon, as they sang.
Yara Neto took centre stage introducing the songs made famous by a range of soulful artists: Mary Wells (My Guy), The Temptations (The Way You Do the Things You Do), Martha and the Vandellas (Heatwave) to name but a few.
A Supremes medley combined the numbers ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’, ‘Baby Love’ and ‘Stop! In the Name of Love’ to fabulous effect.
The programme allowed for some tasty solos on keyboards, guitar, trumpet and saxophone. The arrangements for the backing singers were a perfect foil to the lead vocalist’s work. The audience responded generously to every song and every solo with applause and hoots of appreciation. When asked to join in they sang with gusto. Encouraged to do so by Neto many stood and danced happily for the final number ‘Dancing in the Street’.
It was a brilliant morning’s entertainment. Hats off to the programming department at the Maj.
Post-show I stood next to two spry, grey haired ladies at the crosswalk and asked if they had enjoyed the show. One piped up “I give it ten out of ten!”
What more can I say?