Alexia Coley at The 229 | Live review

It’s nearly 8pm on Wednesday night and Bob Marley is filling the airwaves in an almost desert venue, the evening doesn’t look promising.

Only a few minutes later, however, people start flocking in; the banter spreads and a jovial atmosphere welcomes Alexia Coley on stage.

Dressed in an elegant red dress, the singer greets the crowd with the usual pleasantries to get everyone in a good disposition. Her stage presence is not too strong, but she’s heading in the right direction trying to engage with the audience and make them a part of the show as well. Coley performs for approximately an hour, her setlist comprising all songs from her debut album Keep The Faith, freshly published. Alternating ballad-like tracks to more up-tempo songs, the gig is well-balanced and never failing to entertain – whether she wants to create an entrancing mood or turn the venue into a dancing floor, Coley hits the mark. Proof is given by tunes like Dance With Me, whose title is self-explanatory, and Without You but also Jekyll & Hyde and A Picture Speaks: the energy coming from the songs that have more groove has a counterpart in the mellow, warm vocals and sounds coming from more exquisitely soulful songs.

Promised You’d Be There has an interestingly contagious 50s swing feel that gets everybody on their dancing shoes. Coley then says it was her birthday recently but she hadn’t been able to celebrate properly and introduces I Like a Drink: it is remarkable how she speaks about getting drunk in such a sober manner that it almost dignifies it – obviously it doesn’t, but it’s a good take on a usually boorishly depicted subject.

Not all songs are particularly impressive, mostly bearing the standard jazz/soul signature, but Mr Shady stands out for its different rhythm and sound vaguely reminiscent of a Western movie soundtrack and featuring a longer instrumental suite by the band.

After singing Drive Me Wild, her current single, and the record title track, Coley finishes off with Beautiful Waste of Time – yet another feel-good song that gives a nice wink at the crowd: all in all the concert truly was a beautiful waste of time for many.

Verdict: •••

For further information on Alexia Coley, visit here.

Watch the video for Drive Me Wild here.

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