Good Music Calms my Soul
Infectious Motown beats amid smart surroundings
Review and Photography by Andy Barnham
If anyone were to ask me my opinion on live music, I’d give an unequivocal reply that I love it, but to my chagrin I do little to seek out and listen to bands play live. Equally, the idea of venturing into Soho during a school night, battling for pavement space with wide eyed tourists doesn’t fill my heart with joy. Yet, with autumnal evenings now descending upon us, I faced the evening chill and headed to 100 Wardour St‘s latest Wednesday night music offering, Soho Soul Train.
Firstly, 100 Wardour St is large and spread over two floors, with the bar and lounge on the ground floor and restaurant and club in the basement. The venue has two bars, one per floor and are lovely, in particular the basement art deco bar, and worth visiting to have a drink at. With the stage located downstairs, Soho Soul Train takes place in the club with the music being channeled upstairs through the in-house PA system. For those who may find themselves seated in front of the stage eating dinner, the show kicks off at 9pm and be prepared to be immersed in the performance with Soho Soul Train’s lead singer encouraging audience participation and singing. Being critical, the band is mediocre, but the sheer enthusiasm and joy with which the lead and backing singers perform is so infectious, it is hard not to sit through the whole performance with a smile on one’s face. Working their way through Motown’s greatest hits, many guests will know the majority, if not all, of the set list and lyrics. Try to avoid the seats to the left of the stage, not only is there no view of the performance, but the chairs are so narrow that you will end up sitting side saddle in an attempt not to be uncomfortable. If you can, pick a seat and drink in the show from the bar.
In regards to liquid refreshment, keep to tried and trusted wine and beer. The £6 cocktails are light and refreshing, but nothing to write home about, while what should be a cocktail staple such as an Old Fashioned is disappointing at £12.50 (with far too much ice to boot). There are better places to have a cocktail, and especially at this price.
Service is incredibly friendly and as 100 Wardour St’s bar and lounge is open from midday daily, it’s a lovely place to while away a few hours with a coffee during the day for those who don’t like packed chain cafés.