Lee Fields and The Expressions
With Ketchy Shuby
Presented by Sweat Records and M.O.
The Stage Miami
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Better Than:Ray starring Jamie Foxx; Watching re-runs of Soul Train on YouTube; and Barack Obama singing Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" at the Apollo Theater.
This past Saturday night, The Stage became a temple infused with the spirit of soul as manifested in the musical traditions of archetypal and smoky Harlem nightclubs in Harlem, and sweat-soaked countryside juke joints.
And the master of ceremonies was none other than Lee Fields, a 43-year veteran singer and performer with vocal cords as piping hot as ever.
Before Mr. Fields's steamy hollering and transcendental crooning ushered in a soul music Pentecost, the more punctual members of the audience were treated to the expert spinning of Mr. Action Pat.
Rarely does one encounter a DJ that inspires thoughts of mugging to claim ownership over their vinyl arsenal. Luckily, Pat was dressed way too nice for us to jump him and run off with his seemingly inexhaustible collection of funk infernos, doo-wop derivatives, and classic butt-shakin' music.
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Opening act Ketchy Shuby kept the party going with their very Miami blend of Afro-Latin-funk-rock-fusion. Their high-energy performance would not be entirely out of place on a cruise or playing over a montage of traffic jams on the Palmetto. From the way folks were moving early on, it was clear that Lee Fields was going to make this crowd pop like a stick of dynamite.
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Which is precisely what he did. Fields's style is not only rooted in a long, established tradition. It enacts that tradition head-on. Before his set, we spoke with another attendee about whether or not the new wave of soul -- as epitomized by labels like Daptone and Truth & Soul, and artists like Sharon Jones and Lee Fields -- is strictly a "retro" experience.