I have to be honest, although I have a developing love for soul music, I wasn’t completely sure of Roy’s back catalogue. My boyfriend got the tickets months ago after seeing he was playing in London and told me we were going and I would need a babysitter – at the time, it seemed like an incredibly long time away so I didn’t do anything, about it until a few days before the gig when I had a huge panic! Luckily one of my old work colleagues teenage children is trying to raise some money for travelling so I managed to wrangle a last minute sitter, I’m pretty sure the boyf would have never let me forget that I missed Roy Ayres through bad planning and disorganisation…
Babysitter sorted we set off to London. I hadn’t been to the Jazz Café before, a beautiful Art Deco bar and club in Camden – I’m a huge fan of the style and it was a bit an extra treat for the night! We were pretty early and managed to get a great spot right by the side of the stage which we guarded with our lives, never leaving less than two of our group in the spot – the whole place was packed. I kind of wished we had splashed the extra £15 per person to sit up on the balcony, they had tables and an impressive view of the stage as well as their own bar, I will definitely get up there at my next Jazz Café gig come hell or high water because the photos from that vantage point are *lit* (Do cool kids still say that?)
The support act was surprisingly cool - I was really happy to be introduced to Louise Golby’s music, she belted out some pretty nice soul – we actually bought her album at the event and listened to the whole thing when we got home that night. She even got up with Roy later on in the night and sung with him, which was super fun!
And then there was Mr. Ayres. As I said, although I obviously recognised some of his music I would not have been able to sing the lyrics to every single song. The majority of the audience were clearly lifelong fans as they knew every single word cheering and whooping as they heard the first few bars of each song he played – the atmosphere was incredible. I always think you can tell how well a gig is going by how many people are in toilets during it and there was not a single person in that corridor for the whole of Roy’s stage time!
Have I told you about my love of the keytar? I live in hope that one day I’ll be musically inclined enough to be able to play it. I tried learning the piano but I struggle to play different things with each of my hands so I hit a bit of a plateau but seriously, that instrument is the bomb. I’m sorry for not catching the guy’s name but the keyboardist in the band was something else, at times playing both a classic Rhodes organ and the keytar together – he was obviously hugely talented and definitely elevated this gig from enjoyable to incredible for me!
My only teeny tiny gripe? I wish the drinks weren’t quite so expensive at The Jazz Café, I know they have to maintain the place and staff and it’s in the centre of Camden which can’t be the cheapest of places, but I feel if you pay £30 for a gig it’s nice if you can afford to have a couple of drinks as well – although, let’s be fair, it was a school night and I probably shouldn’t have been knocking back too much gin anyway ;-)
Overall, we all had a great time - it's clear that Roy isn't the springiest of chickens but he has an undeniable stage presence and an incredibly loyal following which makes for an extremely enjoyable night - I'm now working my way through the Roy Ayres back-catalogue through my headphones at work and I'm loving every single soulful second...
What’s your favourite Roy Ayres track? Where you at the Jazz Café this week? Let me know below ↓↓