DJ Manchild kicked off proceedings with a fine selection of vintage 7″ singles, with some really obscure but very good choices of 1960s and 1970s soul and funk music. This was fitting, as the main act this evening, Saskwatch, were launching a vinyl 7″ of their latest single, “Don’t Wanna Try”.

The Messengers were the first band to perform. It is satisfying to see a young band develop and mature over time. Such is the case with this young band. The five piece put on a great set, with lots of charm and energy. Influenced by early 1970s American pop music, the band showcased some great tracks like “Sticks & Stones”, “I Remember” and “Whiskey And Rye”. “Dear Belle” showed the band at their more laidback with a mid-tempo ballad. Assembled before them in a packed band room at The Worker’s Club was a crowd ready to cut loose and dance, which they got the chance to during the closing numbers, “Little Girl” and the wonderful “Kitten”. A great set from a band that fit perfectly with the headline act.

Around 11pm, nine piece local band Saskwatch took to the stage. Showing off the band’s very impressive musical chops with a lively instrumental intro, the band then ripped into a highly charming and enjoyable one hour set. Specialising in classic soul, but with a very ‘now’ attitude to it, the band played a great set during which it was impossible to stand still, such was the infectious groove created. The band also possess a truly gifted and wonderful female singer in Nikechi Anele. She has one of those voices that suits the classic soul style perfectly, one that can go from a whisper to a wail in a heartbeat. A definite lynchpin in the Saskwatch sound.

The band came charging out of the gate with up tempo numbers like “Delinquent” and “Celery Sticks” before taking it down a notch with the gorgeous “I Could Be Wrong”. Anele proved herself versatile on a vocal level and no one trick pony. The sensational band, with its brass section and brilliant use of keyboards, backed her every step of the way.

Highlights of the night included a great instrumental take on the Robbie Williams/Kylie Minogue track “Kids”, in which the brass section took a chance to really shine. The single being launched, “Don’t Wanna Try”, was an absolute gem – one can almost imagine the Jackson 5 when they hear it. The best way to describe it would be ‘bubblegum soul’ – soul music with some utterly irresistible pop hooks, such as the gorgeous keyboard line running through it. It’s also great musical counterpoint – a break up song you can dance to. There was such a great crowd was at the concert this evening. They were very enthusiastic and supportive of a band very much finding their feet live.

A thoroughly enjoyable night from one of the brighter and most promising musical acts on our local scene at the moment.

– Neil Evans