Naturally 7 Barbican Review
By Anthony Keiler
The rapturous applause that led to the magnificent Naturally 7's encore was a testament to their ability to wow the crowd with what they call 'vocal play'.
Play they did from the outset with a rousing performance of their hits including Wall of Sound and Jericho, sending the crowd into raptures.
Naturally 7's unique blend of hip-hop, improv jazz and sultry soul with swagger, coupled with their ability to cause listeners to guess who is ‘playing’ which instrument is just part of their appeal. Their precision and quality was evinced during one part when each member was ‘switched’ off and on again, allowing the audience to discover who played what.
The American septet ensured that every musical taste was satisfied, reflected in their switch from upbeat tracks like Jericho and the ‘Everything She Wants’ sampled Life Goes On to their classic take on In the Air Tonight. Naturally 7’s medley of Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence, Scarborough Fair and April Come She Will had the audience in a trance as they performed without mics at the front of the stage.
If the quality of the group's vocals wasn't enough, the audience went wild at the sight of the members' dancing, which was executed with impeccable accuracy. Their vocal wizardry was matched with slick moves and seemingly effortless choreography.
Unknown to the group their hunger for excellence, performing and entertaining would be matched by the equally hungry audience for more vocal play, more dancing and for the ladies in the audience: more Hops. He teased the audience with his low bass.
Clapping ensued before the group returned to perform final songs to the cheers of the audience. A humorous highlight came at the sight of Hops and Warren (the ‘drummer’) shaking and waving their arms and hips to the band’s dedication to ‘music of yesteryear’ in the night’s finale.
Muntu Valdo, the Cameroonian singer-songwriter, returned to the Barbican opening the evening with songs from his latest album, The One and the Many. He bonded with the audience with the poignant No Mercy.