Concert Review: Lee Fields and the Expressions @ Ritual Nightclub in Ottawa, Canada

Now THESE are musicians…

A packed house on Friday, May 4 to see funk legend Lee Fields and his band The Expressions; no dissapointments for anyone on this night – as a sweaty Ritual Nightclub thumped out wall-to-wall soul from the time I walked in, to the wee hours of the morning.

The night started with something really pleasantly surprising: a local soul band that killed it. ¬†Ottawa’s Slim Moore and the Mar-Kays opened the night and I was stuck by 2 things:

  1. As if a 7-piece soul band that plays originals exists! Amazing!
  2. Slim Moore brings it: Nearly an hour of Slim Moore giving everything he had on stage was impressive to watch – and the crowd loved it.

The night went to a different level with Lee Fields and the Expressions. A pitch-perfect tear through some of the finest baby-makin’ music I’ve ever seen preformed in a club.

Lee took the stage after a 2 minute wind-up from the the exceptional musicians in The Expressions, dressed in a gold suit, hater-blocking sunglasses, and a cheer of “are you here to party?!” Given he was in a bar, and it was just after midnight, the crowd was definitely there to party and dance, and dance they did – to a new-and-old mix of Lee Fields’ exceptional catalogue of songs.

Old or new, however, was almost irrelevant. Both the quality of the songs he sings, and the amazing level at which he performs them put so many other musicians we all love to shame.

Lee Fields & the Expressions

Lee Fields

Not that they’re trying to put anyone to shame. If anything, Lee Fields & the Expressions is only spreading the love. And I sincerely hope that the love for his new release, and a continued love for his on-stage effort and presence put this guy on another level of popularity (and based on a full-house last night, I’d suggest that process is underway).

I kept thinking how lucky we all were was to be seeing this band in a club. The atmosphere of a packed dancefloor, a half-dozen beers in your veins, and a James-Brown-calibre soul singer on the stage are quite astounding. Every butt in the place was definitely moving, and it was quite evident we were all watching a legend at his best.

Because we’re new on the Lee Fields bandwagon, I don’t have much info here on what song he was playing, and how it might have been different from the album version… But I can say how amazingly refreshing it was to see a real pro at the top of his game, singing incredible soul songs to a room full of music fans. It was a really great night with a really great bunch of musicians.

If you’re reading this thinking about going to an upcoming show, GO!

PHM Rating: 9 out of 10

A shout-out to DJ Zattar for his work between sets last night as well.

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