Nick Pride & The Pimptones
Hoochie Coochie Bar, Newcastle.
Friday 10th June 2016.
The new ‘day job’ is causing havoc with my social life; especially gig going. The random shift pattern means I’ve had to cancel 5 gigs with only 24hrs notice recently; but just like Newcastle Busses two came along at once; and they couldn’t have been more different.
The second was local Jazz-Soul legends Nick Pride & The Pimptones launching their fabulous new album Go Deep at the even more fabulous Hoochie Coochie Bar in Downtown Newcastle Upon Tyne on a Friday night.
Unable to find a spare seat at an hour before they were due on stage (in fairness the bar is primarily geared up to DANCING) I found a secretive spot at the side of the stage where I wouldn’t bother anyone.
Bar owner played an eclectic mix of rare Dance tunes as a warm up; so quite a few of the exceptionally large audience were already sweatily excited when the Pimptones made there resplendent entrance at 9.15 on the dot.
An excitedly nervous Nick Pride greeted the crowd before the band glided into a series of instrumentals (Rejuiced Phat Shake, Come and Get It, Soul Food Strut, Hit the Love Button and White Lines) which showcased their collective musical talents in a stunning 10 minute spell; with each one being noticeably different from the previous tune and merging Soul, Funk, Hip-Hop and even a little bit of Bluebeat (Ska) just for the Hell of it.
By the time regular guest singer and now ‘official Pimptone’ Beth Macari made her entrance the packed crowd had surged forward but 15 or 16 were somehow managing to dance their little socks off.
The flame haired Beth immediately showed why she is being talked about in the ‘right circles’ with a sultry version of Lay It On; before totally blowing the crowd away with Love Thing; which even had my hips shaking and feet shuffling as I dived intermittently between dancers to take photos.
Even though they were predominately showcasing songs from the new album; every song sounded like they had known them for ever; judging by the looks on the packed crowd; which spanned the age divide from, uber-cool teenage hipsters, through young Mums on a rare night out to the Hoochie Coochie’s regular crowd of ‘mature night-clubbers’ who never grew up.
If you’ve read my review of Go Deep you will know I love it; but the added thrill of playing live made Go Deep even sultrier than on vinyl and Give It To Me became a right Royal slice of Funktastic Goodness.
If the recent 45 RPM single, Gotta Leave the Lady Alone had been recorded by Sharon Jones or Amy Winehouse would have had the London critics drooling; and tonight’s version simply sizzled with excitement, sending shivers up my spine.
One of my favourite songs, Everything’s Better in the Summertime, was just that tonight with two beauty’s immediately following – Put Your Arms Around Me and Mrs. Magpies’ favourite What The Heart Wants.
While most things revolved around the pocket dynamo Macari, the rakishly handsome Nick Pride himself plays a mean Jazz guitar; reminiscent of George Benson and even Wes Montgomery at times; plus bass player Ian ‘Dodge’ Patterson; who ‘lived’ every note he played and drummer Oscar Cassidy provided a powerhouse rhythm section allowing new saxophonist Alex Saxon free reign and founder member KB Nicholson to give a Masterclass on trumpet and come very close to ‘stealing the show’ from Nick and Beth.
The hour and 15 minutes went by in the blink of an eye and of course an obligatory encore was called for with the band responding with Put Your Arms Around me, much to the fans delight; so much so a second encore was loudly demanded; taking the band (and me) by surprise; and after a hastily convened conference an oldie but goodie, Hex On My Soul was delivered with great aplomb and finally left the 200 or more souls packed into the Hoochie Coochie Bar, satisfied and smiling their little faces off.
Making Beth Macari now their permanent singer really rounds off the Pimptones ‘sound;’ and vice-versa as Nick and the lads certainly appeared to bring the very best out in Geordieland’s answer to Amy Winehouse!