Northern Soul and Boss Sound Revue with Gwen Owens and Roy Ellis Mr. Symarip – at The Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA

November 16, 2012

Northern Soul and Boss Sound Revue with Gwen Owens and Roy Ellis Mr. Symarip - at The Echoplex - Los Angeles, CA - November 16, 2012The Echoplex in Echo Park played host to another wonderful night of live soul and Ska.  In recent months Los Angeles has had a run of amazing shows with a who’s who of the scenes most respected and beloved artists and Friday night was no exception.


Under the banner headline “Northern Soul & Boss Sound” expectations were set high, matched then surpassed in every way imaginable. First to storm the stage was San Francisco’s The Inciters.  Sadly on a rainy night, traffic to The Echoplex lead to less than ideal driving conditions so to my disappointment I happen to walk in on just the last twenty five seconds of their set, quickly followed by an immediate expletive from my mouth when I realized the set had concluded. In just that small sample, I knew there was more there I had to hear, after purchasing their eleven track album “Soul Clap” I now know just how much I missed out on The Inciters -They are a great soul act with rich female harmonies backed by solid musicians and definitely worth leaving earlier for.

Up next was the elegant Gwen Owens looking as energetic and vibrant as ever. Mrs. Owens was accompanied onstage by her two children helping to providing vocals and energy, its easy to see the apple doesn’t not fall far from the tree as they looked happy and right at home on stage with their mother. Unfortunately Mrs. Owens was under the weather and was battling a sinus infection in turn only allowing her to perform a shorter set, that being said she still sounded amazing and was lively throughout it was a real treat for everyone in attendance.

Setting up next was The Original Aggro Band with their strictly heavy approach it got the boots warmed up in a big hurry incorporating heavy Rocksteady and Reggae sound with a upbeat two tone energy, the tone was set for the man of the hour.  Roy Ellis “Mr. Symarip” - “The Boss” live and direct, with the crowed in a tizzy the boots started stomping right away, performing timeless classic after timeless classic and iconic versions, skins and byrds were well on their way to the moon.

The Boss

With his smile and sunglasses as present as ever it was impossible not to notice the smiles and sweat on the folks in the crowed as they raised their fists and sang along to gems like “Stay With Him” “Must Catch a Train” and “You’re Mine”. It may have been chilly and rainy outside but inside on the main stage it was nothing less than a scorcher. Mr. Symarip was a man possessed jumping and dancing and rolling on stage all with a set of broken ribs… even though he was on the mend, his enthusiasm shined through, only to be given back that same enthusiasm ten fold.



Songs like “These boots were made for stompin” (A Nancy Sinatra version) and a personal favorite of mine the E.K Bunch Version “Banana” washed over myself and everyone else as we joined in together to sing along and dance away with The Boss. Fittingly Every lovely Skinhead girl in attendance made it a point to be on stage for “Skinhead Girl” and the same for the fellas on the iconic “Skinhead Moonstomp” helping to end the night together on stage as one.  In what was no doubt a wonderful year for live Reggae Ska Rocksteady and soul Mr. Symarip continued the trend delighting the appreciative L. A crowed as only the Boss knows how.

-Gio Van Dam-
Big Wheel Staff Reporter




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