Live Review: Leon Bridges, Ainslie Wills

4 January 2016 | 3:26 pm | Mick Radojkovic

Tonight, our soul fire was rekindled and burning bright.

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It may be three days into 2016, but soul music is alive and well. Leon Bridges has made sure of that, with a set that transported us to another time but also set the bar of live music very high to start the new year.

With her wavering and delicate vocals, Ainslie Wills took us on a trip through Tori Amos-esque indie pop that would have had punters scrambling to ‘like’ her on their favourite social media. The music is intricate but accessible and the melodies flow over the precise layer of guitar from Lawrence Folvig. A delicious start to the evening.

An air of anticipation floated through the sold-out Metro; would he be as great as we’re all expecting? The six-piece band made their way onto stage and as the up-best high-stepping Flowers kicked off, Bridges, impeccably dressed in a fitted brown suit, hot-footed his way onto stage.

The 26-year-old classy Texan with a piping hot debut album, Coming Home, under his belt, melted hearts and made grown men quiver with smooth soul laced tunes like Brown Skinned Girl and the bustling blues of Out Of Line

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The warm and compact confines of the heaving theatre held a small-club like atmosphere as Bridge’s delighted with his gyrating '60s-style dance moves. The occasional voice break only gave his humble performance more heart; and we already had more than enough soul.

The band, including the hearty buzz of Jeff Dazey’s tenor sax, provided a ballsy driving backdrop, whilst the backing vocal of Brittni Jessie was exquisite, particularly when duetting with Bridges On River, a deliciously slower highlight of the set.

A spare microphone stand appeared for the third song of the encore, and the one and only Gary Clark Jr. appeared on stage for a rousing finale of Mississippi Kisses. Tonight, our soul fire was rekindled and burning bright, fanned by a young and enthusiastic talent that opens the doors of this genre to a whole new generation.