Review: Out on the Floor – Manchester Camerata present Northern Soul and Motown, Bridgewater Hall
Composed by Joe Duddell, the group are reshaping a spectacular assortment of Northern Soul and Motown hits along with Manchester’s homegrown talents. The orchestra, which opened Glastonbury, is effective in bringing a diverse group of music-lovers into the theatre to rediscover and celebrate these classics with the sparkle of the original recordings.
The show strikes gold with its charismatic artists who shimmer in sequins and velvet blazers under a disco ball which dazzles above the audience. Merging America’s 60s soul music and the British mod scene, the show unites a number of the original Northern Soul DJs to perform ahead of the main event. Richard Searling, Colin Curtis, Dave Evison, Pete Roberts and Jordan Wilson from The Torch, the Wigan Casino and Manchester’s The Twisted Wheel show their appreciation for Northern Soul’s overlooked tracks, all unearthed to hype up the crowd pre-concert.
With a legacy of countless hits, the concert showcases Motown’s musical memories from 1960-69, mixing Gloria Jones’s Tainted Love and the soulful Supremes’ You Keep Me Hangin’ On for a track list that flows between emotional ballads and impactful hits. The sensational sounds of Motown were inspired by gospel music, with founder Berry Gordy producing a line of polished commercial stars through his Detroit empire. Seducing audiences with a blend of timeless sing-along successes, complete with synchronised dancers and shoulder shimmies, the regular chart-toppers were embraced at a time when Black artists had few rights off stage. Motown distilled an undeniable talent into the pop sphere, influencing social circumstances where they could, with the independent record company providing a platform to a line of talented artists that inhabited and influenced the UK’s underground sound.
Playing with the unique sound that launched the careers of The Jackson 5, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder, powerhouse vocalist Wayne Ellington delights audiences with these tracks. Selected from a catalogue of 79 top ten charting hits, Ellington delivers the infectious songs My Girl, I Heard It Through the Grapevine and Reach Out (I’ll Be There). Founder of the choir Manchester Inspirational Voices, Ellington offers up crowd-pleasing performances alongside the gifted Sharlene Hector, Paul Stuart Davies, Dominic Wilson and Beth Macar.
The five closed the show with What Becomes of the Broken Hearted to a standing ovation. The dynamic Manchester Camerata applied a loving touch to the endlessly sampled classics, expanding their power to familiar favourites to the delight of their audience. Despite the Bridgewater Hall’s all-seated venue, Out on the Floor is determined to get you up on your feet and dancing into the weekend.
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