The Brand New Heavies performing their Never Stop…The Greatest Hits tour at the Symphony Hall Birmingham on Saturday 11th November 2023.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

On Saturday night The Brand New Heavies brought their sizzling hot blend of jazz-funk along with their funky floor show to the Symphony Hall, Birmingham, to celebrate 35 years since the release of their debut single and to showcase their latest greatest hits album, Never Stop… The Best Of.

Anticipation from an eager crowd was palpable as the string members of The London Concert Orchestra took their places, but the excitement levels rose when drummer Luke Harris, keyboardist Matt Steele, trumpet player Bryan Corbett, saxophonist Richard Beesley along with two backing singers took to the stage. And the party really started when the founding members of this acid-funk group, Simon Bartholomew and Andrew Levy burst on to the stage and from the get go kept pumping up the energy with their cohesive blend of sass.

Opening the first set with Gimme One Of Those, People Get Ready and Sphynx, Bartholomew and Levy led the band into these fantastic instrumentals that introduced the amazing talents of Corbett and Beesley, and with the addition of the orchestral strings who really added something, it was a fantastic start.

The Brand New Heavies have always kept things fresh by changing their lead female vocalist and since 2018 it has been Angela Ricci, who is a formidable replacement for N’Dea Davenport who has dipped in and out of the band since 1990. So when she stepped on to the stage to deliver the funky Have a Good Time, the crowd went wild and when the opening to the mesmerising Close To You resounded around the Hall, the venue exploded.

Going in to a well earned break, they finished the first set with the delightful Got To Give and set closer Day Break.

After a short interval and costume change, the party was notched up a level. It being a greatest hits tour, their best known songs Brother Sister, Never Stop and Dream On Dreamer were all given an outing. The soulful cover of Maria Muldaur’s Midnight At The Oasis was a real treat before B.N.H. from their debut album allowed the band to really show what they are made of with their wonderful solos. Finishing the second set with Spend Some Time and Dream Come True Ricci’s vocals had sounded glorious, Bartholomew’s guitar was deliciously distinctive and Levy’s bass had kept everything funky.

Back on for an encore of Forever and You Are The Universe, The Brand New Heavies had delivered a night of nonstop soul, funk and disco and had showed that they are certainly more than their greatest hits.