The West

REVIEW: Soul to Soul: Movin Melvin Brown
REVIEW: Soul to Soul: Movin' Melvin Brown

Soul to Soul (I Have A Dream)
The West Australian Idolize Spiegeltent
Friday, January 25

In a scene from The Sapphires Chris O’Dowd’s character Dave explains the difference between rock and roll and soul music, emphasising the latter’s sense of determination to fight for a way out of the shadows of the blues and stressing that feeling is what gives soul music its character.

Movin’ Melvin Brown’s is a dynamic, stirring, and sweat-dripping embodiment of soul music.

Brown’s energetic 90-minute show Soul to Soul (I Have A Dream), in which he executes five dramatic costume changes, mixes storytelling, tap dancing, humour, history, singing, and tributes to soul legends Otis Redding and James Brown.

Movin’ Melvin Brown lives up to his name: he moves with volcanic energy, moves the audience to its feet, and moves even the most stolid to dance in the fierce fire of his soulfulness.

Brown starts his history of soul music with the transatlantic slave trade and the African-American history of displacement that led to the development of the blues.

He shifts to the 60s and the civil rights movement that culminated musically in the soul funk of James Brown.

It is the music rather than story that stands out.

Movin’ Melvin Brown’s raw yet powerful deep vocal tone, reminiscent of Nina Simone’s, is one that seems to come from the deep roots of ancient trees.

It is an undeniably African-American voice that is more effective experienced in his live shows than heard on the CDs his manager sells outside after his shows.

The premiere performance on the opening night of the 2013 Perth Fringe Festival lived up to the festival’s promise of being massively entertaining.

More than once the audience rose to its feet to applaud, dance, and sing along.

Despite noticeable audio problems during the first few songs, the show was a scorching success.

Soul to Soul runs until January 28; 7.30-9pm; tickets: $35-40.

The West Australian

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