Joel Culpepper at The Victoria

What on first appearance looked like a cosy North East London pub, soon materialised into an intimate live music venue once we ventured through a secret bookcase door. And it was in that unique setting that soul singer Joel Culpepper and his five piece band performed ‘Tortoise’, his latest EP.

Joel and his band wasted no time getting the crowd on side as they opened up with a high energy cover of ‘millionaire’ by Kelis and Andre 3000. From then on they launched straight into tracks from the new EP, the groove of the music pulsating through every fibre of Culpepper’s soul as he relentlessly moved around every inch of the stage.

Culpeppers vocal range was so astonishing that if you closed your eyes you could convince yourself there were two singers on stage, effortlessly switching from deep raspy growls up to celestial high notes.

‘Mr and Mrs Brown’, a track which Culpepper explained was a message to a young boy from the hood’s parents, was a standout crowd pleaser, oozing influence from the likes of Outkast and highlighting the musical prowess of each of the band members.

Other set highlights included the infectious forthcoming single, ‘Woman’, and the slower groove of ‘Don’t Mean I’m In Love’ which showcased the upper limits of Culpepper’s impressive vocals.

We had all witnessed a star in the making, there was no doubt about it.

And with huge names in the industry such as Roy Davis Jr and Swindle playing their part in crafting the EP, the production value from start to finish is flawless, with the polished maturity of a fourth or fifth album rather than a second EP.

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