Review - Togetherness Modern Side By Dave Dixon
I went to Togetherness on Saturday and was really looking forward to it, especially considering the aggro I had getting prepared to be able to make the journey. I walked in about 11pm during Soul Sams spot and thoroughly enjoyed it. I didnt know a single record he played but it was fantastic rare modern soul including a Timeless Legend record I hadnt heard before. It seemed pretty quiet at this stage - no record dealers and bar was quiet too. However, Mike Stephens set up a stall later on.
Next up was Richard Searling, an hour earlier than usual becuse Dean wasnt there, starting off with Donny Hathaway/Roberta Flack to get people up. He also played Angie Stone and OJays back to back which went down quite well. I dont think he played anything too dramatic. Andy Davies was also on earlier than usual and said at the beginning of his set that hes going to play some big tunes to get everyone going. His set included Janita, Dennis Taylor, Drizabone (Real Love) and Llorca. He did the job as stated but I couldnt help thinking that he was being under-utilised.
So after a set of stuff we all know, I was looking forward to Mike Stephens but he basically carried on in the same vein - Jon B, Shabazz (Glad Youre In My Life), Jaheim, Rahsaan Patterson. I started to wonder if the DJs had been told to play it safe. Mikes a top man but his set was very unadventerous and he is capable of playing all sorts of obscure promo stuff. I dont think it wouldve been his choice alone to play that set.
So far no soulful garage and next up is Colin Curtis. I prepared myself for an entire set of it, in view of his recent comments and that the previous djs hadny played any. Instead we had Kenny Lattimore, Luther Vandross, Harold Melvin & Bluenotes and some other 70s stuff for the first 30 mins and then it was Joi Caldwell, Lenny Fontana, Jon Cutler and others for the last 30. I must say he had the place rocking during his garage bit.
It would have been so easy for Terry Jones to continue where Colin left off. After all, hes been playing soulful garage in his sets for the last few years anyway so its nothing new to him. But, top marks to the man, he starts of by slowing it down by playing Maxwell and then Maysa Leak, The Dells, Main Ingredient, Donnie (Youre The One - record of the night) and other soul stuff. He finished off by playing crossover stuff like Melvin Moore and Karen ? (Make Love Last Forever). Easily the best set so far.
Gary Dennis then started off with Ollie Nightingale & Chuck Cockerham and played some great older stuff. Unfortunately, I was in danger of nodding off at the end of his set as Id been up since 6.15am on Saturday so as much as I tried to keep myself going I was marched off the premises by my wife so I missed Gavins final set.
Overall verdict - In comparison to the high standards its set itself over the last four years, it was average. I enjoyed myself, had a good dance and it was great to bump into folks again. However, I usually walk away wanting lots of tunes or to dig out some old ones but not this time. I thought too many of the djs were playing it safe. Perhaps its always like this but Im just getting fussy because Im more up to speed these days and have been out a lot more this year. There was also a lot of duplications - Angie Stone, Jo Jo, Marvin Gaye, Maurice J, Dante, Jaheim (Just In Case someone didnt play it earlier on) & Rahsaan Patterson.
Sets of the night were Soul Sam, TJ and Gary. Ive been pretty loyal to Togetherness - Ive been to 10 out of 12 of the allnighters and the recent weekender (which I thoroughly enjoyed) but it may be time to spend my hard earned at different venues next year. Lets face it - theres a lot of good competition these days. There seems to be a policy change from a progressive modern allnighter to a twice a year party night. Then again, maybe its me. Also, the sound quality was not good. The volume caused some significant distortion - a view shared by many people.