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Women of Soul at Cherry Bar

Gig Review: Thu 2 Feb 2012

Clairey Live

Last Thursday, Cherry Bar hosted the first night of the Women Of Soul (WOS) February Residency, an event that highlights Australian female soul singers, and judging from the night’s performance the next few Thursdays are guaranteed to entertain.

The night began with WOS host/singer Chelsea Wilson introducing the three other singers for the night onto the stage for a group rendition of Feelin’ Good a song that beautifully portrayed the rich, vibrants voices of each individual singer, with each singer taking turns at the role of lead singer, while the other 3 provided a beautiful backing trio.

After the ladies finished Feelin Good, Florelie Escano was left alone with the band on stage to present three songs, and her energy, open personality and amazingly rich voice definitely got the crowd in the right mood for the rest of the night. Her set was a mixture of her own songs such as Moody Blues as well as covers, such as Marva Whitney’s What Do I Have to do, but her confidence didn’t change throughout the set. In fact, as if to show just how comfortable she was Escano made sure to showcase the stage band (Deep Street Soul, and Adam Rudegair on Keys) with a variety of solos.

When Escano finished her set the night had only just begun, and the crowd at cherry were instantly treated to a bluesy, intimate performance by Clairy Browne. Slow, soulful songs were the main focus of this set, but while tis brought down the dancing, Browne’s stage presence, striking appearance and skilful singing entranced the audience. With a cover of Etta James’ Fool that I am as her final piece she brought her set full circle in preparation for the next two singers.

Chelsea Wilson returned to the stage as the third singer for the night and instantly got the crowd dancing again with her high-energy song Through with Loving You. Her energy together with her strong, articulate vocals revealed her as an experienced singer who knew how to help the crowd have fun. Chelsea’s second song Bitterness demonstrated her true confidence as she tackled a higher vocal range than before, while also taking the time to allow members of the band a chance to take a solo.

All of a sudden the night reached its last proper set for the night, but there was a reason Kylie Auldist was saved for last. The seasoned Melbourne singer took to the stage with an infectious grin and energy that brought everyone to their feet. Auldists’ started her set off with “Made of Stone”, a groovy song that showcased her smooth and beautiful voice, as well as an amazing solo by keyboardist Adam Rudegair. Throughout the set Auldist continued to emanate a light hearted energy as she engaged with both the audience as well as the stage band, and she maintained a truly emotional performance, finishing with Rosy.

While it seemed the show was pretty much over all four singers returned to the stage to finish the night with two energetic group songs.
Linda Lyndell’s What A Man was punchy and energetic and their final song, but it was their cover of Etta James’ In The Basement that brought the night to an end with some truly soulful singing as all four singers paid tribute to the recently deceased American Rock and Roll/Rhythm and Blues icon.

by Sam Blacker

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