GIG: Music Fan First Album Launch
Tuesday 25th August saw the London album launch for Music Fan First by the incredible soul singer Eric Roberson. It was hosted at Traffic Bar in Holborn, London in conjunction with the SoulBeautiful crew. Added DJ support was from one of my favourite producers, Eric Lau, and it was a fantastic night indeed!
Went down to the venue with Sam from Dekata Project around 9pm and the place was buzzing. It got pretty packed in there, but it was a good choice of venue and the atmosphere was really chilled. People were generally pretty laid back and very friendly – Sam even had one request to have a photo taken of his Doshiwa t-shirt! I managed to have a brief chat with the ultra-cool Eric Lau, a genuinely nice guy. I’m still eagerly anticipating some new material from Eric, but he did manage to make my evening with a fantastic (albeit brief) answer to my question, “what was your influence for New Territories (his debut LP)?”, Eric answered very frankly, “Slum Village with singers.” It made a hell of a lot of sense! I can deliberate my thoughts over 1200 words to try and convey some feeling, but it took Mr Lau a whole four words to sum it all up beautifully! Also saw the delightful Amelia from the excellent site PutMeOnIt – was good to finally cross paths in the ‘real’ world.
Eric Roberson finally made it on stage with an acoustic guitarist as accompaniment. What was immediately apparent was the warmth Eric had – a good personality, someone who could clearly enjoy himself and wasn’t afraid to laugh at his own expense either. I think this instantly endeared him to the crowd. So, after sharing a few jokes and interactions with the crowd, Eric spoke briefly about the album and then proceeded to perform some of the tracks. Now I may not have always followed the neo-soul genre as closely as others, but I’m being serious when I say that I haven’t heard a male voice of that calibre since Glenn Lewis circa 2002!
Was also good to see there was a healthy level of dedicated fans present, flying their colours through the medium of impromptu backing vocals! It was a good night that concluded with a freestyle song where by Eric asked for a few random words from the crowd that he could incorporate into the freestyle. I think we ended up with; toothpaste, Africa and psychiatrist. Got to give Mr Roberson his props – he came up with a wicked ditty bout taking an African girl back to the States and her going crazy – it was really good. Then there was cake. No really. It had the (above) album artwork printed on it! So people ate cake, bought CDs and Eric signed them.
It was a good night and a fantastic showcase of one amazing voice and individual. A truly decent person representing independent artists and giving the listeners what they so wanted. I’ve heard the album and it’s brilliant – a genre defying neo-soul record, if that makes sense – a most enjoyable listen indeed! Well produced and made of much substance. Pick up Music Fan First now via iTunes (including bonus track) and on traditional CD too.
01. The Newness
02. The Hunger feat. W. Ellingston Felton
03. A Tale Of Two feat. Ben O’Neill And Michelle Thompson
04. Borrow You
05. Dealing feat. Lalah Hathaway
07. How Could She Do It
08. Further feat. T3 Of Slum Village
09. The Power That Kisses Hold
10. Howard Girls feat. Brandon Hines, Geno Young And Aaron Abernathy
11. Weekend Getaway
13. Wanna Believe It Again feat. Wayna
14. Bad For Me
16. Pave A New Road
17. Celebrate feat. Sy Smith (Bonus)