From: Jon Freer (jon-freer_at_excite.com)
Date: 2004-05-11 17:18:03
Alison Crockett Live at Band On The Wall, Manchester, UK. 2nd May 2004.
From her work in the past with the likes of Philly based production genius King Britt and Jazz collective Us3, Alison has shown an ability to connect with her listeners, regardless of the tempo. Her distinctive vocal tones have created waves in the UK electronic community, most tellingly from her releases on the London based Wah Wah imprint. The success of the Gilles Peterson championed tale of a break up, “Like Rain”, and Yam Who’s understanding revision of the devoted “U R”, have given her a high status in this country amongst clued-up muso’s and record spinners. However, on these shores, she’s an as yet undiscovered talent outside of these circles. Her “On Becoming A Woman” long player may have finally dropped, but it is unlikely that the majority of the moderately-sized crowd had the pleasure of hearing the album before attending her gig.
The show was a sit-down concert affair, where the crowd appreciation predominantly took the form of polite claps and cheers. A few fans did get up and boogie along, but the majority of the energetic dancing was left to Ms. Crockett, who bounded round the stage and front of the dancefloor. Not the tallest of singers, Alison’s incredible stage presence was complemented by her boisterous vocal performance. A friendly demeanour, explanation of the themes behind her lyrics and a practical attitude to unruly equipment, brought Alison closer to the crowd. Responsible for writing all of her emotionally intense songs, she was backed by her brother Teddy, responsible for producing some of the cuts on her album, her husband, Robert, an expert sax and flute performer, and a host of other talented musicians. Live, tracks such as the energetic “Nappy”, “Alive” (which seems incredibly ironic after meeting Alison in the flesh, as she doesn’t seem to be the type of person who could spe!
nd any time just ‘going through the motions’ of life), and a rendition of Erykah Badu’s heart-stopping “On and On” worked magnificently. To compare her to vocalists such as the aforementioned Badu, Jill Scott and the rest of the nu-soul set is warranted, but it probably does a little injustice to Ms. Crockett. She is most definitely one of a kind, and has dipped her toe in more musical waters than many of her contemporaries. This performance will have undoubtedly made a few more souls aware of her considerable talents and alongside the release of her album and future Wah Wah outings; her profile is justifiably set to rise.
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