On the site of the old Kingsway Hall, live music is once again thrilling audiences in the Middle Eight Hotel’s contemporary take on the classic speakeasy.
This month marks a shift in their programming with a host of new acts joining their roster. This evening is the inaugural performance of their The Ultimate R’n’B Soul Show, which promises an energetic celebration of classic rhythm and blues, and that’s exactly what it is.
In the first act singer Wayne Hernandez takes on classics by Luther Vandross, Al Jarreau and others, finishing with an upbeat Bill Withers, which is a sign of what’s to come for while the first act is spent in your seat, the second is very much on your feet. It’s after the interval where the groups’ musicality really comes to the fore, with the likes of Blackstreet and House of Pain being sung over the top of Stevie Wonder vamps, it’s excellent entertainment, which keeps the audience literally and figuratively on their toes.
As well as being a charming host, Hernandez’s vocals are sublime. He moves through vocal registers with ease and can resonate from gravelly tones through to delicate highlights in a breath. The four-piece band (guitar, bass, drums, keys), led by guitarist Mike Brown in true classic rhythm and blues style is similarly excellent.
An evening at the Green Room is more than just the music though. It’s also a gastronomic experience with small plates and music-themed cocktails (and mocktails) on offer. The quality of the food is just what you would expect in a 5-star hotel, but the prices are far more reasonable than one might imagine. The truffle pizzette and monkfish scampi are particularly good.
From the moment you arrive at the venue it feels like you’re in for something special. From the quality of the service, the food, and the entertainment itself, as a package, it’s a fantastic night out.
The Ultimate R’n’B Show runs fortnightly on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month, sandwiched between West End Cast Party on a Monday and Divas! on a Wednesday. That, alongside Leo Green’s Thursday, Friday, and Saturday residency, and one off showcases from artists such as Ray Gelato and Clare Teal, mean that whatever your musical palate there’ll likely be something for you here.
Runs on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month