It was a night to remember for music lovers as Craig Charles brought his roadshow to Bridport‘s Electric Palace.
The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show set up for one night in the town, with a near-capacity crowd dancing away through a loud and raucous evening.
There was little room to walk across the dance floor without getting caught in groups throwing their shapes to the mash-ups provided by Mr Charles – a passionate performer who clearly loved what he was there to do.
Before the doors to the old cinema had opened a queue had already formed outside, such was the popularity of this show. Once drinks were purchased and people had filed in, the musical portion of the evening began with the support act, local band The Kezettes.
This Bridport band, who played a mixture of funk, soul and jazz, may well be destined for bigger things. Their stage presence, as well as their obvious talent, got the early dancers onto the floor and set the tone for the night. Their performance was made even more impressive by the fact they were a few members short and had to draft in replacements for this gig – their lead singer was missing as she had just given birth to a baby girl.
The Kezettes played some brilliant covers, from Deee-Lite’s ‘Groove Is in the Heart’ to James Brown’s ‘I Feel Good’, as well as some original numbers, all of them creating a perfect mood for the rest of proceedings.
After the band had cleared the stage the mixing table for the headline act was brought out. With excitement building there was a hush in the room as Craig Charles and his posse made their way through the crowd inside the Electric Palace. Before too long he was out on stage to be greeted by cheers from the assembled mass. Before launching into his set he told the crowd: “I’m Craig Charles, and I play FUNK AND SOUL!”
Some people did take the fun a little too far, hopping on stage to dance in front of Craig Charles, but with gentle persuasion from the staff at the Electric Palace they were coerced down to the rest of the dancers; another fan of the DJ jumped up to shake his hand, telling him she was a massive fan. Throughout all the interruptions he kept his cool and kept playing tunes.
The age range in the audience gave the impression that the music of the evening was universally appealing with at least a 40 year range of those up on their feet.
If the reception he had for the whole set is anything to go by, Craig Charles has certainly gained himself a few new listeners on his weekly BBC Radio 6 Music show. The Electric Palace sure knows how to put on a party night…
Words and pictures by Benjamin Parker.