Anthony David x Avery Sunshine Live @ Jazz Cafe, London | Gig Review

In a double bill of live Atlanta Soul, Avery Sunshine made her UK debut alongside Anthony David onstage at London’s Jazz Cafe earlier this month. With no prior knowledge of Avery Sunshine’s music and fond familiarity of Anthony David’s, it was to be a night of discovery and familiarity in equal parts for me…

Avery Sunshine was first up… She sat at the keyboard, very laid back in her demeanour. Her voice sounded remarkably crisp as she began to run through her set. Her voice and music, probably due to the heavy Gospel and Jazz styling, was comparable to Jill Scott and Ledisi, not a bad comparison at all in my eyes. The similarity with the former was no more apparent and fitting on her personalized, funky cover of ‘He Loves Me.’

The covers didn’t stop there, carefully weaving in ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ and ‘Sweet Love’ to her original material throughout the night. Her set felt like a an impromptu jam with an audience in attendance, showing her comfort in her surroundings and her band’s musicianship, with interludes that were Jazzy in which she spoke to the crowd and flashed her infectious smile.

Although she played tracks from her album such as ‘Ugly Part of Me’ and the single ‘All In My Head’, Ms. Sunshine really lit up the place with ‘Safe In His Arms,’ a song that showed her Gospel grounding and her sheer vocal mastery. All in all, a great debut.

After a quick turnaround, Anthony David graced the stage and began his set with playback of the recording of the Rickey Smiley Radio Show on which Barack Obama stated that he had him on his iPod playlist. Anthony, in a slick leather jacket, white shirt and red tie, then broke into his remix of ‘American Boy’ in which he represents for Atlanta.

Effortlessly moving between an uptempo arrangement of ‘Yes’ to the mid tempo, head bopping ‘Something About You,’ Anthony David put his smoky voice and carefully chosen ad libs into full effect. He also brought Avery Sunshine back out for ‘4evermore’ and treated us to rap verse, which wouldn’t be the first or last of the night. The new material didn’t stop there either; he sang ‘What God Said’, a politically charged number with a Rock style arrangement, a track he wrote after Pat Robertson’s ignorant comments on Haiti.

‘Let Me In’ and ‘Smoke One’ came and went, and I wondered why the devil Anthony hadn’t picked up his guitar as yet. As if he done read my mind, he picked it up and went straight into ultra bluesy version of ‘Cold Turkey,’ complimented by stabs and a very nice guitar solo by his guitarist. Needless to say ‘Part of My Life’ followed shortly and was dedicated to some lovebirds in the crowd, the name of whom escapes me.

‘Spittin’ Game’ got the whole place bouncing and cut into ‘Electric Relaxation,’ spit a verse and then move seamlessly back to singing the chorus. Closing with ‘Words’ he promised to be back in February around time of album release. Standardly, the audience called for an encore and AD hit us with Drake’s ‘Find Your Love’, accompanied by his drummer and guitarist.

In a final and fitting close to the set, he treated us to ‘Backstreet’ from the upcoming album, a song that he described as a ‘Ghetto Epic’, which showed us the Anthony David we know and love. Him, a guitar and a story, the song being about black on black crime and the police’s attitude towards it. Oh, and he dropped another verse. Atlanta definitely represented in London!

More photos from the night, by Neil Raja: