Review: Beth Macari @ Surf Cafe

17th May 2016 Off By Mark Tyers

The surfers were out and a balmy, golden twilight was in full effect, bathing Tynemouth beach in a Southern California esque glow as this reviewer walked along the cliff road to the North East’s live-music-venue of-the -moment; The Surf Cafe, to catch an intimate performance from up-and-coming original Soul & Funk singer Beth Macari and her band.

Despite it being a Monday, a 60 strong audience was tightly packed into the cafe-by-day/gig-venue-by-night as singer-songwriter Aimee Lambert opened proceedings with a solo set of delicately woven original songs and covers. In most pubs and live music venues the audience is scattered around but in the Surf Cafe it’s completely the opposite; with the audience practically on-top of the performers and very attentive to boot. As much Lambert did well to retain her composure and deliver her silky vocals in a gentle set which saw her accompany herself on guitar then piano, closing out with a warmly received rendition of Radiohead’s Creep.

After a brief interval, the flame-haired Beth Macari confidently took to the floor, elegantly dressed in an eye-catching tartan sheath-frock and a massive pair of nude coloured pump heals. Despite a brief technical hiccup with the sound, she and the band opened up with the Jazz flavoured Hanging-by a String immediately displaying a rehearsed ease and skill despite the new additions to the band line-up (the newest member knew all the names of the songs… unlike the rest of the band Macari joked).

Macari’s banter with the audience and the band was a great testament to her hands on approach to all aspects of her career to date; from writing her own songs to running her social media pages. She also loves to throw covers into her set, with her take on Marlena Shaw’s classic California Soul and Adele’s ubiquitous When we Young proving particularly memorable.

However, it was her original songs which were the stand-outs on the night and none more so than the up-tempo funk of latest single Voodoo which got performed twice thanks to vigorous calls for an encore from the audience. Macari’s spine-tingling vocals and the fun and focused energy of the band throughout the set was truly infectious and left this reviewer wondering just how far her star can fly.

The Black Swan inspired YouTube video for Voodoo is a must-see and it’s Macari’s most uptempo work to date, a fitting statement of intent for what she hopes will be a breakout year for her. She’s already fronted the house band on Sky One’s Bring The Noise and will be performing at Lindisfarne Festival (1-4 September), Riverside Live (28 August) and South Tyneside Festival supporting The Proclaimers (Free entry 17 July, Bent’s Park, South Shields).

Voodoo will be out on 28 May available on iTunes and Spotify – the video can be viewed on YouTube now.