Smoove & Turrell are something of a rarity in that they’re a decidedly North Eastern band that has found quick success not just outside of the area, but outside of the country. Throw in four assured and confident album and a genuinely great musicianship and the promise of seeing an acoustic show at a small jazz haunt is undeniably appealing.
Hoochie Coochie is suitably rammed by the time that John Turrell takes to the stage backed by bass and guitar (the rest of the band are in attendance in the throng), but strangely for a sold out room full of paying ticket holders a good 4/5 of the audience seem to be intent on talking obnoxiously loudly to each other, doing shots and generally pretending they aren’t at a show at all. In fact the only way of really being sure that this actually is a room full of Smoove & Turrell fans is by taking a moment to count all of the raincoats and macs on display for a dry, clear February night.
It’s all a bit nerve-jangling to be honest, but once the band has taken to the stage and gets in full swing it becomes markedly easier to tune everything else out. John Turrell sits centre stage and ribs his band mates from the off, despite the fact he is arguably the least prepared, and sets an easy-going, matey and convivial vibe that continues for the duration. The most impressive part of the evening (aside from seeing the technical skill of fine musicians up close) is the care that the band has taken to present each song differently. These aren’t the same songs played in the same way on unplugged instruments. In fact each track has been carefully rearranged with thought and care to provide these home town fans with a show that is unique, a show that is a bit special. Hopefully those who actually paid attention felt every second of that because Smoove & Turrell put all of their considerable heart into it tonight.