Cheltenham Jazz Festival

Cheltenham Jazz Festival: Michelle David & The True Tones at The Daffodil Restaurant – Live Review

Michelle David & The True Tones are a new name to me. This is the beauty of music festivals though, you get to discover artists you may not have come across before and in many cases it can change your life a little, especially if it opens up doors to a whole new genre that you haven’t particularly have paid much attention to before.

Michelle David & The True Tones are a blend of Rhythm & Blues, R&R Soul and gospel.

Their website states; Upon looking for the roots of their beloved musical genres (Rhythm & Blues, R&R Soul) founding members Onno Smit and Paul Willemsen discovered the Gospel music performed by the likes of The Soul Stirrers, The Zion Travelers, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Shirley Ann Lee. Captivated by the pure energy of these songs, they decided to make their own version together with Michelle David (USA).

Michelle David & The True Tones show at Cheltenham Jazz Festival was held in a very special venue at The Daffodil Restaurant. A restaurant that was once an old cinema from the 1920’s. It still holds many of its 1920 art deco unique features such as the sweeping staircase, projectors, reception and more giving it that Hollywood Glamour.

The show is special for its magical venue but also because The Daffodil Restaurant are providing a three course meal and Champagne Cocktail on arrival.

The meal and live music experience is exactly that, an experience and a wonderful one at that! Food first, the live music comes on after everyone has eaten.

The True Tones arrived on stage first to much applause by an audience who were all geared up for a night of good music. When Michelle David entered the stage, the applause was even louder.

Starting with the sensational Yes I Am, the old cinema was full of life as the energy from Michelle and The True Tones flowed into each and every person present.

“I am going to get loud” Michelle preached “I need you to follow me” and to that an audience member stood up and cheered!

YES” Michelle cheered. “I will let you know when. You may have to take off your shoes like I did!”

Michelle proceeded to tell the audience they were beautiful and powerful in her very wonderful inspirational way! She then went into singing You Are.

Michelle is an amazing entertainer. Her sass, quick wit, friendly persona and soulful vocals had each and every member of the audience in awe!

“I love you Michelle “ cried an audience member.

Taken aback and beaming Michelle responded with “I love you too. You stay where you are at the end because you’re going to get my first hug”.

Michelle then spoke of how we are all taking things back after covid. Taking back love, life , everything! Her words flowed into her song Taking It Back which the crowd participated in.

Many people danced throughout the set, which was beautiful to see especially as everyone was sat at dining tables. What was great was how people didn’t care and they just let themselves go. This is exactly what Michelle wanted and she was so grateful for it!

The whole venue was like a private function of people who knew each other. That’s part of the appeal of the event that Cheltenham Jazz Festival in partnership with The Daffodil Restaurant put on. Tables are shared as if in a wedding venue and you get to know your neighbour before the show over food and drink. This creates a much more relaxed environment and is why everyone just let loose and had the best possible night!

“I never assume people will show up” said Michelle with gratitude. “This next song is for loved ones, for all those who love you!”

The song she sang following that was a stunning and emotive ballad. The emotions were high in her vocals and you believed every word that she sang, especially the crack in her vocal at one point which was powerfully raw! It took Michelle a minute to catch herself again after she sang. The crowd had her, we were all with her!

I don’t know what we would do without music” she cried! “We have been graced with so many great songwriters. One of them is Curtis Mayfield.”

Michelle then performed a beautiful rendition of Curtis Mayfield’ Keep On Pushing!

Telling us the sad news that she was diagnosed with cancer just before covid hit, she says she looks at life very differently now and that she doesn’t do things differently, but does them better!

This promoted her brilliant song Second Chance.

Telling the audience towards the end of the show that this was a moment of celebration and she needs EVERYONE to get up! Everyone did exactly that and the party had really started!

When Michelle David and The True Tones left the stage, the much loving crowd wouldn’t take no for an answer when they demanded an encore. As if she was ever going to let us down, they all retuned and performed a crowd interacting number which was delightfully fun!

Michelle and The True Tones were an absolute joy and highly entertaining. They were the perfect act for a wonderful evening of food and music and good company! It’s was obvious that everyone had a great time and would definitely go out of their way to see her again!

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