Smoky vibes filled the church at the theatre venue Chapel Off Chapel for Mayfield’s chance at Chapel Summer Sessions. The heat of the afternoon lingered into the evening, and if you closed your eyes the tunes could take you to a hot, humid day in New Orleans. Rays of light shone through the divine stained-glass windows of the church and a heavy calmness reached its high wooden ceilings as we waited for the first act to take stage on the crimson carpet.
The sweet sultry sounds of soul and funk were on the agenda. Elise and the Vibe acted as the warmup act for headliner Mayfield. Dressed in black, nine members of the Vibe filled the floor. Elise then emerged in a cardinal-red outfit, matching the heat of the day. The band of brass and guitar played pleasantly, moving and swaying to Elise’s first song, ‘I Got a Bad Feeling About This’.
I can best describe her sound as Amy Winehouse meets Stevie Wonder (she even tried to channel the Spice Girls). The backup singers sang sugary sweet harmonies. We watched as the band found its feet. (They recently met in New York City and this was their second gig.) They ended strongly with the R’n’B standard ‘Take me to the River,’ which they all sang celestially together with no instrumentals. The rawness was moving and beautiful.
After a short break, we returned to our seats for the main act, Melbourne’s own six-piece band, Mayfield. The set changed from hazy red to bright hues of purple, blue and gold. Eight distinctive personalities, again donned in black, took the stage.
An eclectic band, each member stole our attention at one time or another — all with their own appearance ranging from punk, to goth, to edgy rock. Then an energy burst from the skies as a golden goddess radiated into our vision. Sweet baby Jesus! What a voice. She sang, and heavenly street sassy sounds illuminated the church. Vocal powerhouse Carla Troiano embodied the essence of soul. We praised her groovy melodies and memorizing moves. My personal favourite jam was ‘Something has Changed.’ Smooth, sticky and sweet, Mayfield’s beats melted the crowd. Mayfield have just released their debut album ‘Victim Of Circumstance.’
Leah Sparks is a Canadian girl living in Melbourne. Other than her love for maple syrup, she digs the outdoors, live gigs, beer, the 70s and cruising around Fitzroy with her white wolf.