THE original, and with a reputation that really needs little introduction around these parts, STAX of SOUL are still very much going strong, with tickets flying out for the nine-piece band’s ongoing 40th anniversary tour.
It seems incredible that STAX of SOUL have been around for four decades now, but with legendary Oldham front man Stuart Widdall continuing to lead the band’s electric, adrenaline-fuelled Soul Review, it’s no wonder their shows are still selling out.
Stuart and his band-mates are still relishing every gig they play, and are clearly proud of what has been a whirlwind opening six months of their latest landmark year.
Stuart said: “The soul music we all love has kept us going of course, but we also feel it’s also a great achievement to be still out there after 40 years.
“When we see the excitement of our audiences, and the enjoyment on their faces, we feel like we’d like to carry on for another 40 years.
“We get so many great comments after our gigs, and people tell us how happy they are that we’re still going!
“The dynamic might be changing in that a few of the venues we used to play aren’t there any more, but we still love what we’re doing and will always put on a brilliant show.”
All nine members of the band – original Peter Lee, Stuart, Paul Phillips, Pete Clark, Steve ‘the Horn’ Valentine, Darren Roberts, Paul Rigby, Pete Maguire and Rick Halliwell – are supremely talented musicians, with STAX of SOUL’s powerful brass section providing that extra heart-thumping, foot-shuffling edge.
The guys meticulously and energetically recreate the very best from the catalogues of Stax, Atlantic, Motown and Northern Soul, while tributes to James Brown and the Blues Brothers ensure that the polished and perfected STAX of SOUL show guarantee their audiences the ultimate soul party.
Check this out for a set-list of ultimate soul classics: Tears of a Clown, Get Ready, Higher and Higher, Try a Little Tenderness, Move On Up, My Girl, Stand By Me, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Give Me Just A Little More Time, Harlem Shuffle, Gimme Some Lovin’, Minnie The Moocher, Shake a Tail Feather, Hold On, I’m Comin’, Soul Man, I Got You (I Feel Good), Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, In the Midnight Hour, It’s The Same Old Song, Mr Pitiful, Stop Her On Sight, plus many more – of course.
Originally formed in late 1983 (though the first live performance wasn’t until 1984), STAX of SOUL went on to pack venues and wow huge audiences throughout the remainder of the 80s and well into the 90s and early 2000s.
Places like the Willows in Salford and Quaffers in Bredbury were regular haunts, but after the effects of the recession saw those two, and other venues close down, the band eventually called it a day in 2011.Roll on six years to 2017, however, STAX of SOUL made a line-up tweak and were back in business.
Founder member Don Parfitt retired in late 2020, to be replaced by Pete Maguire, and now, post-pandemic, STAX of SOUL are well and truly making their considerable mark once again.
So far their 40th anniversary year has been another hectic one for live shows, but despite some forthcoming gigs having already sold out, there are still opportunities to get your tickets for the ultimate Soul Review and a night you certainly won’t forget.
You can catch STAX of SOUL at the Stockport Plaza, Middleton Arena, the Playhouse 2 Theatre in Shaw, Darwen Library Theatre and The Hough End Centre, Chorlton, as well as numerous other venues across the north-west.
Ticket links are on the website: www.staxofsoul.co.uk while you can also follow the band on Facebook – STAX of SOUL UK.