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Streetsounds Summer Ball 2013 was all about reminiscing and being transported back to the '80s. I remember looking forward to each new volume of the series and playing them in my room without headphones and perfecting my dance routines. Fast forward and thankfully the permed long hair has been replaced by a shaved head but I am surrounded by a mixed and interesting crowd. There are some dodgy dance moves that really shouldn’t be allowed into the 21st century and the evening at times has that scary air of a holiday camp with Streetsounds merchandise being tossed into the crowd and people being invited onto the stage to take part in a dance off. We are told at an early stage that due to legal reason there will not be an appearance by the Sugarhill Gang (No mention of the Fatback Band?!) but there is still more than enough on the billing to wet the appetite of the crowd. Fonda Rae has not graced our shores since 1985 and delights the crowd with “Over Like A Fat Rat” and the popular “Touch Me (All Night Long)”. She is packing some booty in a peach dress and has a tough job of warming up the strangely reluctant crowd via a backing tape – always a difficult task and the sound seems distorted and tinny at this stage.

Crown Heights Affair is an all red and full band affair. The Brass section is in place and they are keen to get the crowd moving with a full 85 min set. They bring a really enjoyable set filled with their distinctive funk, disco, harmonies and energy. I can remember “Galaxy of Love” as a firm favourite and we are treated to the full extended workout of this with the distinctive trumpet solo from the original band member; “Foxy Lady” and “Dancing” also jog my memory. I am totally surprised at having forgotten what must be the biggest tune “You Gave Me Love” and that makes the evening and their set even more enjoyable for reminding me of that and my soulful teenage (just – haha)leanings. The mellower “Move Your Body and Soul” takes me back to Robbie Vincent on a Saturday morning and they take the time to introduce the full band.

I am distracted by jerk chicken and rice' n' peas momentarily but thankfully the intro to “Is it Love You’re After” causes me to race back to witness the start of the Rose Royce set. They are dressed all in white and sounding amazing with Ritchie Benson on vocals. So many songs and so many memories, including “Still in Love” “Do Your Dance” “I Wanna Get Next To You” and “Magic Touch”. An original band member seems to think we need to be told that they are the original Rose Royce and I feel he hammers this home a tad too hard. Always difficult when there are different bands touring under the Rose Royce name. I loved “Wishing on A Star” for my highlight of the evening. The band has an energy that sweeps you up with “Makes You Feel Like Dancing” and obviously “Car Wash” is a firm favourite. Their biggest hit “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” completes the set. A great evening that is not over when Rose Royce leave as then it’s more DJs and time for Brass Construction, Bus Stop from Fatback and other fine tunes and a realisation that I need more Streetsounds in my life.

About the Writer
Terry Joe is a London-based has led bands as a vocalist, releasing cds and regularly performing. His favourite artists include Anita Baker, Jill Scott, Al Green, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Ledisi, Nathan Haines, Me'shell NdegeOcello and many more.

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