The Brand New Heavies feat. N’Dea Davenport @ Highline Ballroom 6/7/2010

Touring in support of their Live In London album – which dropped last October on their TBNH imprint, London-based acid jazz and funk group, The Brand New Heavies hit the stage at Highline Ballroom to a nearly sold out crowd.

Though the show started nearly 45 minutes late, once The Heavies (Simon Bartholomew, Jan Kincaid and Andrew Levy) took their positions, they were easily forgiven with their 70s-infused soul and urban funk.

With a few female leads over the years (Siedah Garrett and Sy Smith), everyone’s favorite, ATL-native N’Dea Davenport made her lovely return just as sexy, fun and confident as we can all remember. Smiling and dancing about the stage, almost flirtatiously, Ms. Davenport definitely hasn’t lost her stage presence and vocal abilities.

Beginning the show with “Never Stop” from their self-titled 1992 debut, the show was comprised of a great package of mostly up-tempo hits: “Midnight At The Oasis,” “Dream on Dreamer,” the motivational-anthem “Brother Sister,” a tune from 2006’s Get Used To It (“Let’s Do It Again”), even performing the ballad “Forever,” saying that though it wasn’t apart of the set list, they’d do it anyway for the fan who shouted it out in the audience. Now, that’s a band who values their listeners.

But also, being the lady that she is, Ms. Davenport even gave a shout-out to Siedah Garrett on the inspiring “You Are The Universe,” saying “Even though Siedah originally sang it, I could never do it justice, but I’ll sing it anyway…if you guys don’t mind.” Naturally, we egged her on.

One thing about The Brand New Heavies brand of soul music: it bridges the gap between black, white, Hispanic, Asian and many other cultures. Because at the show, there were many different nationalities and ages who came together for one purpose: to jam out on some serious acid jazz, funk and soul sounds.

That said, even rock and soul maven Nona Hendryx and jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater were in the audience rocking to it as well as Canadian singer-songwriter Honey Larochelle, who provided backing vocals for the group.

The Brand New Heavies Live in London CD is in stores now!

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About ND McCray

ND McCray is a former Brooklynite, now Beijing-based writer, penning pieces on arts, culture and other stuff.
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