Gregory Porter and his Band performing at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Tuesday 10th April 2018.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Wearing his trademark eccentric headgear, double Grammy award winner Gregory Porter brought his own brand of music to a sold out crowd at the Royal Concert Hall last night.

Strolling on to the stage with his superb band led by pianist Chip Crawford, Porter quickly proved his worth as he opened with the gentle Holding On, which Disclosure had revised for the dance floor.

Although he was cheered to the rafters by this capacity crowd, his set list was a balanced mix of his better known songs and if they were expecting some sort of Nat King Cole tribute, following the release of his latest album Nat King Cole & Me, then they would have been a little disappointed, as he delved into his last three albums.

Ably assisted by his band, Porter had no hesitation in handing over control to them to improvise some outstanding jazz riffs, such as On My Way To Harlem when a brilliant saxophone interlude nearly stole the song and Chip Crawford’s fingers flew along on the piano. But it was his deep luxurious voice that mesmerised this crowd and when he unleashed it to its full power, the effect was devastating.

With the passionate hymn Take Me To The Alley and Porter’s tipping of his hat to his young son with a more up-tempo song, Don’t Lose Your Steam he reminded everyone that whilst he writes all his own material, he is a lyricist of considerable skill.

When the band left the stage leaving just pianist Crawford and Porter for a very moving cover of Nat King Cole’s Mona Lisa, the crowd were mesmerised. And with his between song anecdotes about Nottingham’s oldest pub, he was totally at ease with this crowd. With a set that included Liquid Spirit and the brilliant Hey Laura, this dude really was a cool cat in a hat.