St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Koko, gig review: Frenzied theatricalism with passionate, slow-swaying soul

The six-piece from Alabama are renowned for going big on their live shows

Roisin O'Connor@Roisin_OConnor
Thursday 23 June 2016 10:17
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Paul Janeway of St. Paul and The Broken Bones performs on stage at KOKO in London
Paul Janeway of St. Paul and The Broken Bones performs on stage at KOKO in London

Soul six-piece St Paul and the Broken Bones are all about the old-school, which is why, at their gig at Koko in London, more than one audience member can be spotted sporting a bow tie.

The six-piece from Birmingham, Alabama, are renowned for going big on their live shows, and tonight is clearly no exception.

Frontman Paul ‘St Paul’ Janeway, who was actually trained to be a clergyman in his teens, sings preacher-style in his glorious accent.

Melding a frenzied theatricalism with passionate, slow-swaying soul; he's a truly outrageous performer, clicking his glittering silver shoes together Dorothy-style as he spins around the stage - it makes you breathless just to watch him. ​

While the lyrics on a song like ‘Grass Is Greener’ don’t strike home as hard as those of their neighbours Alabama Shakes (the band recorded their album in the storied Muscle Shoals with producer Ben Tanner), the feeling is there all the same, and what’s more is that this band is fun.

You can see it in the audience who shriek as Janeway collapses to the ground, recalling James Brown on 'Please Please Please', with members of his band rushing to fan him with towels.

They punch their fists in the air, clap, cheer, scream for more guitar solos, more trombone, more of Janeway's incredible voice: because they’re watching a band who are clearly utterly in love with the live show, and you can’t help but want to get involved.

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