London Shepherds Bush Empire
Friends in high places and an impressive new album cement the one-off live show...More on
Obviously, Damage have a lot of friends in a lot of cool places, and their elevated presence gives this usually dingy auditorium in west London an even greater intimacy than usual. In fact, over half the guest-list reads like a rather impressive R&B roll call.
But that's hardly any surprise. What is surprising about tonight is the absence of any old material - proof, if proof were needed, that Damage are seeking more than ever to break into new musical territories. And apart from a couple of formulaic R&B numbers, including the rather disappointing 'Rumours', the majority of tracks performed are fuelled by some sweet, old-skool funk with a touch of rhythmic soul - a sound carried, if not defined, by Coree's earthy, sometimes James Brown-esque vocals.
Couple Damage with a live band and this mid-week gig has, momentarily, a touch of something greater. As it stands, though, it's merely a tantalising glimpse, as the night rather abruptly ends at the play-safe time of half ten. Hardly the kind of time gigs end in Damage's romantic ghetto (see 'Ghetto Romance', one of tonight's most well-received songs), surely? Anyway, from tonight's performance, it's clear to see Damage are thinking bigger than their poppy pigeonhole.
Straddling the world of 'serious' music and mainstream R&B boy-band pop, they've just got to decide which way to jump.
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