The cavernous marble ground floor of Bank’s five-star hotel, The Ned, is an unlikely setting for a reggae gig. However, striking artist Shelly Ravid wanders around the circular centre stage as if she is a permeant fixture of the venue, as at home as if she were playing in a reggae venue in the Caribbean.
People recline against long oak bars, leaning over bottles of champagne in their casual evening wear, as Shelly Ravid opens New Music Monday with track ‘Six Strings.’ Her stage presence is immediately noticeable, as people pause mid conversation to survey the young artist. She conducts her set with a confident, purposeful attitude that is mirrored in her music.
Eyes become fixed on the dark-haired singer as she moves into a song about being in lust not in love, with ‘Love Like Fire’ from 2017 EP ‘Livin’ Large.’ Lyrics like ‘I work all day just to pass the time/ I drink a little wine just to ease my mind…I love you but I’m not in love with you’ reverberate around the enormous hall, resonating with the youth who are beginning to sway along with the strings and cymbals.
Two new songs follow, ‘We Forget’ and ‘Purple Roulette’ which truly represent the modern reggae that Ravid produces. Her music epitomises the best of reggae music: breezy backseat instrumentals with an easy beat, combined with intelligent, socially conscious lyrics.
Reggae is one of the best genres to move to, which is obvious as high-heeled co-workers move closer to the stage to hear Ravid and her band better. The venue is brought alive by the music, transforming a tired after work spot to a buzzing, energetic space. Upon closer inspection, Ravid’s lyrics are stories, covering subjects like politics, success and love. Not only does her music carry a strong social awareness, but it is authentic and mature, something Ravid should be particularly proud of.
The band and the singer blend together in perfect harmony in ‘Chain Reaction’ and ‘Let Them Know,’ as they move gently with their stripped back songs. Closing number ‘Blind to a Few’ is more vibrant and dynamic, with a stronger drum presence, and is the perfect track to end on. If Shelly Ravid can entrance her audience in a glamourous venue like this, then she must be spectacular to see at a more laid-back gig.
You can catch Shelly Ravid at the 229 on the 27th September and she will be releasing a new single around the same time.