Allston-Brighton Neighborhood Concert: Soul City Band
Parks and Recreation is hosting live concerts in neighborhoods throughout Boston. Neighborhood concerts are made possible by the generosity of Bank of America.
Soul City has one motto: You will dance. Resistance is futile. This New England-based band, which has been an entertainment staple in the Boston area since 1988, is still living up to its motto and packing dance floors weekly at weddings, private events, and public concerts.
“Soul City is not a band, it is an experience. To say everyone was on their feet is not an exaggeration. The passion and energy were undeniable. The experience was priceless,” says one bride. Head over to the band’s reviews and each entry is the same- you will dance.
Led by vocalist Natalie Antell, this Latina and female-owned 10-piece wedding band performs regularly across the region bringing their rich and unique horn sound to every performance. The front line, consisting of three horns and three vocalists, is a captivating force to watch.
“The Soul City horn section is an integral part of the experience. We utilize our horns similar to James Brown’s section, “The JB’s”, and Earth Wind & Fire’s, “EWF/Phoenix Horns,” says Antell.
Believe it or not, this type of band is unique to the industry- most bands begin with vocalists and the rhythm section, and horns are added on as the client's taste and budget allows.
However, in Soul City, every musician, down to each horn, plays a major role in the performance and sound Soul City is known for. “We do not hire outside musicians if we don’t have to. It’s the same 10 of us at each gig. We are a family and best friends. Because of this, the chemistry between us when we’re on stage performing together is electric. We are so lucky to have each other.”
Their playlist is simple — it has to have a funky groove and it has to have horns. One can expect to hear a wide variety of music from the band, including songs from Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson & Jackson 5, Aretha, Otis Redding, James Brown, Whitney Houston, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, and more. Even covers that don’t have horns get the Soul City treatment: the band has created original horn lines to make sure the horns are still a part of the show.
The horns are not only important to the Soul City sound, they are a crucial part of the performance, dancing along to choreography that matches the vocalists’ choreography. And when they’re not coming up with new dance moves, the band is always working on new ideas.
“One of the most exciting things for me has been watching these creative geniuses write music together,” says Natalie. “They are constantly working as a group to come up with new licks and transitions, as well as song and medley ideas. They have even started writing original funk fusion songs and we hope to get an Earth Wind & Fire tribute concert together in the near future. We want to work together more, so we come up with projects with the hope that we keep working together!”
Alongside Natalie is her husband, saxophonist Tucker Antell, vocalist Amanda Rollins, vocalist John Grant, trumpeter Jim Clark, trombonist Chris Gagne, drummer Adriel Ferguson, keyboardist Sanitago Bosch, bassist Sam Kurzontkowski, and guitarist Clay Nordhill.
“I am the third owner of Soul City (since 2017). I came up in this group. I learned how to sing and perform in this group. They became the family I didn’t know I needed, and I’m not the only one that feels this way. Amanda started in Soul City at 19 years old. We’re in our early 30’s now and have now spent more than half of our lives with this band. It’s so special,” says Natalie.
When Soul City is not performing at private functions, the band can be found performing throughout New England at the Boston Harbor Hotel Blues Barge, the Encore Casino, the Boston Parks & Recreation Concert Series, the Crane Estate Concert Series, and more. This is a band you don’t want to miss!