Festival Review: Lee Fields and The Expressions


Presented by Lee Fields and The Expressions
Reviewed12 March 2018

The one off performance of Lee Fields and The Expressions at the Adelaide Festival marked the beginning of their Australian, NZ and USA tour to promote their new album Special Night. Their music has been described as old time soul, with Fields returning to the style of soul music which he would have heard when he was young.

Fields has been in the music industry for over 40 years, releasing his first album in 1979. The similarities of both his performance and vocal style to the late, great James Brown has earned him the nickname Little James Brown which is well deserved.

Lee Fields and The Expressions delivered a fantastic sound which while it may have familiar resonances to old time soul or perhaps is seen as part of a new soul revival, their music stretches existing boundaries and marks out new territory in making the sound distinctly their own. The Expressions are more than a backing band as the music is sharp with a thumping bass beat and at times a mellow and then a screaming brass section.

Whatever the song, Fields puts his heart into it. We really believe that the man who is going off the rails in Work  to Do is going to do the right thing to keep his family together. He makes us care about the state the planet in Make This World and hopes his audiences will be inspired to change things for the better. The performance was brilliant and I’d happily go and see them again.

I was very disappointed by the venue and how it was organised. The show started 15 minutes late and had been going a good few minutes before someone remembered to turn the house lights off. I also found it very distracting that during the performance, staff wandered freely back and forth collecting glasses and empty bottles, even at one stage mopping the floor!

Although it was advertised as General Admission – Standing, there were actually some tables with bar stools and booths down the sides of the venue. The result of this was that anyone who managed to get a seat – there weren’t very many – couldn’t see much either over the heads of those standing or from the booths as half the seats faced away from the stage. At $59 a ticket I’d expect something considerably better. The Palais needs to lift their game if they want to be a Festival venue.

Reviewed by Jan Kershaw

One night only – season ended




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