Following a sold-out show in Toronto, UK soul sister Alice Russell made her way to Canada’s National Capital to give a live performance at Ritual Nightclub as part of her Dust Tour. Russell, who’s performed at the Mercury Lounge in her early beginnings, was back in Ottawa this past Saturday, October 19, for a night of soul thanks to World Famous Music.
With support from local Deejay Zattar spinning groovy funk and soul tunes, Ottawa’s own The Souljazz Orchestra opened the night to warm up the crowd for the headliner. True to themselves, the afrobeat-inspired sextet gave a lively performance that got concert-goers dancing right from the start. They were clearly happy to be back on home turf and local fans were equally as happy to celebrate their return. The Souljazz Orchestra’s set list included the songs Bibinay, Kelen Ati Leen, and Serve and Protect, from their latest studio album Solidarity. They followed with Recognize, Would You Believe in Me, People People, Stand Up, and the piece Negus Negast found on Rising Sun. As per usual, the sextet gave a solid performance and oozed good vibes all around which the public certainly enjoyed.
After a short intermission, it was time for UK soul singer Alice Russell to hit the stage. By then, it was a full house at Ritual. The British queen of soul took the stage shortly after midnight accompanied by her musicians who all donned classic black for the occasion. Armed with undeniable talent and charisma, the acclaimed powerhouse projected great stage presence and offered an excellent live performance. Hearing her voice live was simply splendid and reaffirmed her status as a true soul singer as she belt out song after song beautifully. She eased through her set by alternating between fast-paced tunes and smoother material giving the crowd a mixed bag from her wide repertoire. Russell kicked off her 60-minute set with the songs Heartbreaker, Let Go (Breakdown), Twin Peaks, and Citizen all from her latest studio album To Dust. She continued with Let Us Be Loving from Pot of Gold and followed with Hard and Strong after which she picked up a cowbell for a live remix version of Living the Life of a Dreamer. To thank audience members for their support, cheers and applause, Russell came back for an encore and performed the popular Got the Hunger to everyone’s delight. Ottawa certainly loves Alice Russell and last night it showed.
Russell is giving her third and last Canadian show tonight at Le Belmont in Montreal after which she continues her Dust Tour in Europe. Here’s to hoping she returns to the National Capital Region in no time.