As the crowd swayed to mellow grooves from K15 on warm up duties, the dark figure of Peven Everett manoeuvred the length of a packed Jazz Café towards his backstage greenroom. A live set from the revered soul and house musician is far from common these days, even on home soil, and the magnitude of the rare occasion could be felt in the air which was charged with excitement.
Peven swaggered on stage to his band’s entrance music, and without even playing a note on the keyboard the room was entranced as he scanned the faces staring back with effortless cool. After what felt like an amplified build up the set that was executed did anything but disappoint.
Peven and his band balanced live interpretation perfectly as they treated a willing Jazz Café to a largely upbeat set of his dance floor classics. ‘Put Your Back Into It’ had bodies moving early on, causing Peven to rise to his feet, gliding across the stage to the centre mic and pulling a few shapes of his own. ‘Stuck’ and ‘Feeling You In And Out’ kept energy levels high while a few minutes of calm came during the slow grooves of ‘Testing Me’.
So at home on stage, the showman in Peven kept eyes transfixed whether it was for this krump-like dancing or his dexterous finger work with his keyboard solos. The rendition of ‘Gabriel’ was perhaps the highlight of the night, if only for the jubilation heard as the track started which continued as the whole room sang each word throughout. Before we knew it, the gig was over, but all were fully content with the ride.
Photo credit: Tom Morgan