Review: Craig Charles Xmas Funk and Soul Show @ 53 Degrees, Preston

Chris White dusts off his dancing shoes and heads to 53 Degrees for a funk and soul fiesta courtesy of Mr Craig Charles.

Jayne Robinson

Date published: 17th Dec 2012

The last time Craig Charles brought his legendary Funk and Soul show to 53 Degrees (back in March) was easily one of the best nights to hit this city this year. So with the DJ, radio presenter and actor back again for a Christmas Show, expectations were high.

I’ll be totally honest, I’m far from a Funk and Soul connoisseur. But to me that’s the great thing about this show; it’s totally accessible to anyone looking for a good time and right ol’ stomp, no matter how extensive your knowledge of the genre.

From the moment you arrive (for us around 11pm), the atmosphere grabs you. We genuinely haven’t seen that many happy faces at a club night before. The crowd is the definition of varied, with pockets of revellers from all age brackets strutting their stuff to the funky music. There are not many nights which can unite people of such varied ages, that’s for sure.

We arrive in time the catch the warm up act Dr Syntax and The Mouse Outfit, a 9-piece live Hip Hop act. Again this isn’t my areas of expertise, but their vibe was great and got the crowd sufficiently whipped, ready for the main attraction. This more urban sound was a nice introduction to the funk - the ideal warm-up.

When it comes to 'euphoric' tunes, I’d normally turn to a nice bit of Progressive House or old-school Trance, but 'euphoria' is the adjective I’m going with for this night. Plenty of vocals, a surprising level of bass, with Craig’s expert song selection and carefully remixed classics; it’s a winning combination. I think the only times my gang and I weren’t throwing ourselves around the dance floor were when we were at the bar. Craig dusts the set with crowd interaction, igniting whoops and cheers every time.

53 Degrees works as the perfect venue for the night too. Half the main room is closed off to create a more intimate but still spacious environment. Bar service is quick and reasonably priced with plenty of seating for those inevitable five minutes when you should really catch your breath and calm down - and the dark ambience makes the huge LCD screen behind Craig really pop.

Around 3am my feet win the battle, and it’s time to leave. Once again a truly fabulous night is had by all. If the Funk and Soul Show rolls into a town near you, check it out! You won’t be disappointed.

Words: Chris White

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