Last night in The Academy, the venue played host to an absolute soul party with the visit of Eli “Paperboy” Reid. I knew little of Eli going into the gig, I had heard “Come and Get It” on the radio plenty over the last few weeks and absolutely love the tune and upon the recommendation of a few friends, I decided it was worth checking out.

The support band were The Pacifics who came on to a mostly empty Academy which slowly filled up as their set progressed. Having never heard of the Pacifics (a very quick google had me expecting a rap act) these guys managed to get a slowly filling crowd to smile and dance as they kicked out a blend of covers and originals that had a rockabilly feel to it.

The choice of covers certainly lent a lot to this sound. They rattled through a set top heavy with covers like “Can’t Judge a Book – Bo Diddley”, “Act Naturally – Buck Owens”, “Talkin About You – Chuck Berry”, “Cadillac – Bo Diddley”, “BirdDog – The Everly Brothers”, “Comanche – Link Wray” which were excellently done, also quality versions of “Runaway – Del Shannon” and “Lucille – Little Richard” got everyone singing along and dancing away. They also played some original stuff like “Pizza Boy” and “Uncle Sam” off their forthcoming double A side 7 inch “The Pacifics will never work in this town again“. These songs blended seamlessly with the set and if their future song writing is as good, we could have a serious band on our hands. Really fun, warmed the crowd up quite nicely.

After a short break to setup the stage, the crowd began to fill up nicely. The True Loves came to the stage to a massive cheer and began their ultra-tight sonic assault on our aural and visionary senses. They look like that classic image of the New Orleans soul band, trendy and snappy dressers spread across a brass section, keys, guitar, bass and drums. They proceed to start the show with a funky instrumental intro where JB “30 Seconds” Flatt gave an introduction that felt straight out of the blues brothers, drenched in superlatives to describe the man who was to join them on the stage, The one, The only…. Eli “Paperboy” Reid…..

They kicked off the show with “The Satisfier” and “Help me” blending old stuff with new stuff as Eli took control of the room with slick and polished stage moves Elvis would have been proud of. He has a bit of banter with the crowd, introduces the True Loves and himself, in case you don’t know his name he jokes, “I don’t know how many drinks you’ve had” garners a chuckle from around the room.

Eli tells us he’s gonna slow it down a bit an plays “It’s Easier” and the crowd take a respite from dancing to enjoy a slow and soulful side of Eli before ramping it back up again with “Tell me what I wanna hear” and “Just Like Me” both from the new album. Eli takes a break while The True Loves continue on with the crowd dancing away like they were at a Prom dance in the 1950’s (think Back to the Future where Marty play’s Johnny B Goode) and after  5 or so minutes Eli returns and gives The True Loves a little break as himself Patrik “Sleepy Cheetos” Moody and JB “30 Seconds” Flatt continue the show with “Am I wasting my time” and “Pick Your Battles” and “You Can Run On” with the help of the clapping crowd to the beat.

The True Loves have returned at this point to rock out “Time Will Tell” and a cover of a Fred Lynch song “Young Girl” as the crowd were in full flow dancing to this mesmerizing serving of soul.

Eli, in an almost preacher like fashion, introduced his hit single “Come and Get It” telling the girls he had to explain the song, and that girls “Confuse and Confound us guys, but we love you anyway, we wanna do right by you, but you gotta just tell us what you want… what you need, So if you want the love of a man, girls, you’ve gotta come and get it” flowing beautifully into the tune as the crowd went nuts dancing to Eli’s latest hit.

The show was finished off with “Boom Boom” where Eli demonstrated his extraordinary crowd skills getting everyone to Soul Clap, after a demonstration and getting everyone to do it, he got them all to stop clapping simultaneously with one Tiger Woods fist pump. He then rocked out on the song and at the appropriate time called for the Soul Clap which the entire crowd obliged with, Eli then gave his band an outro, calling for cheers for  Michael Jalani Brooks and Freddy “Puppy” Deboy on Tenor and Baritone Sax, Patrik “Sleepy Cheetos” Moody on Trumpet, JB “30 Seconds” Flatt on Keys, Ryan “Man Hawk” Spraker on Guitar, Mike “Money” Montgomery on Bass and Attis Jerrell “Lemon Lime” Clopton on Drums.

A vintage soul performance given with a touch of swagger, The Paperboy has delivered.