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Barrence Whitfield and the Rizlaz - All the cats were rockin' down the house....

This show was one of the most unexpected treats for me at FRF06. I had no expectations and even less insight into who these guys are, but, hey, when it all comes down to it, the only thing that matter with music is the experience. And this was a hot 'n' rockin' show.

The Rizlaz, all six members dressed in black from top to toe, warmed up the audience with one song, which gave them a chance to showcase their individual skills - especially the keyboard player who was fairly stonking. Then on came Barrence - short and stocky African American and looking radiant in a bright red polo shirt. After a little audience patter they launched into their first song together - "Make My Move," a straight up rock 'n' roll song, which played full tilt like every other song that followed.

Gaz Mayall was off to stage right, jumping up occasionally to pump up the crowd by pointing at Barrence and egging them on to get into the music. Not that anyone needed much encouragement. The boys more than had it under control. Everyone in the Crystal Palace was rockin' as the band made their way through a mad song list - literally, as the list featured songs like "Mad House" and "Really Mad," But also other totally manic tunes like "Juicy Fruit" and "Cave Man."

After what was supposed to be their last song the crowd was literally howling. Barrence turned to the audience and said, "It's contagious in this room tonight. You don't want us to go now, do you?" And if the crowd had been howling before now they were screaming.

Barrence Whitfield and the Rizlaz didn't just indulge us in one encore, either. Actually they did so many I lost count. But for what ended up being the very last song - "Start Twisting My Arm" - the energy in the room was overwhelming. It was electric. Yet warm and intimate. Gaz had insinuated himself on stage and down on the floor do some kind bee-bop move on his back while the sax player stood over him puffing out deep moody notes. All the kids at front of stage were leaning over towards them and flicking their hands in time to the music. Barrence stood a little further back, still belting out the lyrics, and overseeing the proceedings. On stage left Joe Rush, dressed in a gold suit was dancing like no man but he can. Cat has got the moves. In a word, wow....

Reported by sisterchill