Omar Fairfield Halls Croydon 10th Jan 2020. "this aint a free for all "
Fairfield Halls Croydon really has had a nice little makeover , the Recreational looks great with it's smart floor & the staff are very friendly. The choice of tunes playing pre gig are fantastic. Funk classics like Teena Marie behind the groove & Freeez by Southern Freeez 1981 are getting afew heads bopping including mine , it's all about the bass. The first thing I observe as Omar enters the stage is that he has not aged one bit since his huge 1991 UK hit There's nothing like this from his first album of the same title , He still wears the same earrings from back then and still has that trademark hair.
"What's up South London ? " as he & his five piece band start things up. Everyone is getting into the groove with the relaxed vibes such a nice feel tonight. For the second tune Omar hits the keyboards, I am intrigued to know what this guys influences are , definitely Jazz funk soul but I wonder which vocalists inspired him. He moves a lot as he sings & there is a lot of intense concentration , 'This is not a love song' from 97 comes , I was waiting for his cover of Golden Brown Stranglers but not on tonights list. He reveals to the crowd hat he has been doing music for 35 years.
His covers of 'Diamond in the back' Curtis Mayfield & Roy Ayers 1976 'everybody loves the sunshine' are wonderful , ultimate chill out tunes. Soul singers who must have left their mark. He has received big compliments from Stevie Wonder to Erykah Badu who he has worked with during his career. Omar has a sense of humour , making the crowd giggle when he asked if we wanted a latin thing ? the folk at the front shouted back requests to which he responded jokingly " this aint a free for all " creating some laughs. The final tune of the night is his new one , 'fuck war make love' reflecting on the worlds troubles right now. Fires , wars the list goes on.
Omar thanks his band individually mentioning Brian Henry on keyboards as the man who introduced him to funk.
Good thing you did Brian!
A night of pure chill out a soul funk lovers heaven.