Gig Review: A night of Pop, Soul and R&B at The Exchange, Bristol

Words and photos by: Anna Hatfield

A rainy evening in Bristol brought together a basement full of talent in the Exchange. An evening of soul, R&B, pop, and no short amount of crowd participation consisted of Lebo, Tessa King, and San Reetam; A fantastically curated line-up if you ask me.

Lebo started the evening with a welcoming conversational chat that made us all feel like we’d just stepped inside his own personal rehearsal space. This was a perfect addition to balance the soulful, emotional content of his songs. The alternative R&B style warmed the room and drew a crowd to the tiny basement venue.

Lebo’s set was full of quiet emotion and raw energy featuring his own fantastic creations. Loop was a particular favourite of mine. His new song is released on 21st March — which is not to be missed!

Next was Tessa King, whose vocal control and power are unmatched. She incorporated incredibly poignant themes of mental health and online culture with a rhythm you can’t help but sway to. The set featured both released and unreleased songs, available on Spotify. 

Fighting With Myself was an excellent summary of 21st-century struggles and was performed stunningly. She got the crowd singing along by the end of the set, and it was the perfect lead-up to the main event.

San Reetam was full of energy and life — exactly what everyone needed after the rain began earlier that evening. The band filled the stage and then some, both physically and musically, with talented musicians riffing off each other at every turn.

With a mix of male and female vocals, jazzy saxophone, electric guitar, and keys and drums to tie it all together, this band had it all. With a mixture of soul, pop, and funk, they got the crowd clapping, singing, and cheering along to all their songs and filled the basement room with a whole lot of energy!

In short, this evening indeed was music for the soul (pun fully intended).

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