It is rare indeed to witness a tribute band that compares not only musically but also in performance, energy and passion with the originals.
This was the case last Friday at the Assembly, where the Style Councillors took to the stage. A mighty sound emanated from the ten-piece which featured brass, keyboards, guitar, drums, and astonishing vocals bearing remarkable power, range and similarity to the originals. Take a bow Darren as Paul, and the extraordinary Dani as D C Lee.
The supremely talented act were an homage to the Paul Weller post-Jam project, the soulful, funk-driven and pure pop creation the Style Council .
The crowd of over 300 disciples noisily and with much expectation welcomed the band who kicked off musical proceedings with Health Farm. And from minute one, it was clear this was going to exceed many peoples expectations. ‘You’re the Best Thing and Have You Ever Had It Blue followed as the faithful settled into peerless renditions. Head start for Happiness was the catalyst for the majority to rise to their feet, witnessing the musical equivalent of a sun-drenched day on an Ibiza beach with a new take on the hypnotic yet mighty Long Hot Summer masterfully conceived and performed.
Shout to the Top and Ever Changing Moods came along to preach more joyous soul to the already converted, with most seats now redundant.
A reflective Paris Match was sung beautifully, a genuine goosebump moment.
The pace picked up with A Solid Bond in your Heart, a composition that would have sat willingly in any Motown collection (I can hear The Four Tops covering that in a bizarre time slip musical cosmos).
The comprehensive set finished with the Council's first single, the sublime and wonderful Speak like a Child with brass section in full flow, underpinned by pulsating bass, and with a life-affirming chorus. The near-capacity faithful raised the roof as they demanded more.
Rewarded with Down in the Seine, Big Boss Groove and a tumultuous Walls Come Tumbling Down, we finally came to a magnificent denouement. A superb and full setlist, too many greats to mention were performed to an incredibly high standard.
The satisfied and retro '80s-grooved congregation departed into the cold January air with smiling faces, and more than a hint of summer in their hearts, after this exuberant and masterful company had imprinted their brand of ‘style’ into the ears and hearts of all present .
A thoroughly joyful and heartfelt salutation, and to be honest, quite brilliant.