Thursday finds me at o’Neills for Vida (soon to be VidaSoul). I’ve arrived late as ever, thanks to a pre-arranged choir practice. Tim Somerfield is doing some mellow numbers as I walk in; next are Karl and Kristy the birthday girl as Verbatim. Doing covers in their own way, this is the second version of Toxic I’ve heard this week, and it’s pacy almost with a new country feel to it, and is as different from the original as Ali Bangay’s and Sarah Griffin’s takes, the other versions I’ve heard. Karl’s guitar work is pretty perfect for the setting of them both; Kristy’s voice totally blows me away; the duo make a good impression.

Now we get to the main attraction, Tim (bass), Richard (for Rio on drums) and Karl (guitar) take to the stage and start a little jam going waiting for the ladies to join. They soon break into a funky intro for Crazy In Love which is way up tempo and licks the pub into uproar, setting a high bar for the rest of the night.

Having heard them do acoustic versions of this and next song Dollar on the radio show the previous night, its a change to hear them pumped up and tricked out, this time to a full audience. They start a Christmas mood with Rockin’ Around The Christmas tree, what I find amusing is checking out the normally impeccable back line, working the chords and passing them to each other. This signals a slightly toned-down section, until Candy Man starts with a slinky sexy slow beginning, before bursting forth into full on rock ‘n’ roll.

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