Review: Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club, Boiler Shop, Newcastle

It's been a few years since I was at the Boiler Shop.
Craig CharlesCraig Charles
Craig Charles

Back then the former workshop, once a cornerstone of the industrial revolution in Newcastle, was in its infancy as an events space. Flooring was uneven, makeshift bars were on trestle tables, the currency was pre-bought tokens and the toilets were of the Portaloo variety.

Two years ago it underwent a major refurb with proper bars, loos and, most importantly, a more sophisticated sound system, on which Craig Charles and his Funk and Soul Club put to good use with his set at the weekend. Though he may be best-known as an actor, on the likes of Red Dwarf and Coronation Street, it’s clear that music is one of his true passions and his live show is a chance for him to dip into the tracks he plays on his long-running BBC 6music show.

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The venue’s maintained its rugged charm and it worked well with the underground vibe of Craig’s set, which was a mash up of Northern soul and funk.

He managed to get a sold out crowd in the groove with timeless tracks by the likes of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke (you can feel it all over) which rang out while vintage graphics of disco dancers from the ‘70s were shown on the large screen behind him - the Newcastle crowd gave it a good shot but they were never going to be as cool as those cats.

He was joined by a vocalist for a rich rendition of Curtis Mayfield’s Move On Up which had everyone dancing into the wee hours.

When Craig Charles throws a party, your shoes can’t help but shuffle.