“This is how we roll, we play funk and we play soul,” proclaimed BBC6 Music’s Craig Charles on the night of his 51st birthday, choosing to delight the Wakefield crowd to celebrate.
It would be easy to dismiss Craig Charles’ DJ nights as a pay-packet injection to his main career as an actor, but anyone in the know who tune into his show will be aware that this is no mere folly. Charles is exhaustively knowledgeable about the soul genre. His passion and enthusiasm for what he plays, and the back catalogue of records he can pull from is so vast no one at Unity Works can help but be pulled into the spectacle like a dance tractor-beam, losing all control of feet and arms.
On a night so warm you can almost order a pint of the atmosphere from the bar, Charles kept building his set up with mash-ups of Bruno Mars, The White Stripes, Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. Charles was in tune with the crowd and knew how to whip them into a frenzy.
His ability as an actor contributes to his showmanship, miming along to trumpets, saxophones, beckoning the crowd into a-capella sing-alongs, he was the star and the music was his soundtrack.
For three hours the DJ would not relent, feeding off the intensity of the night throwing sonic curve balls of genres you never knew would be dancing bed-fellows. It’s difficult to imagine the whole night without being on that dancefloor.