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Lee Fields with special guests Surprise Chef

27 November 2023

In the Studio

Contemporary Music

One of R&B’s great survivors, soul scorcher Lee Fields is bringing his fighting-fit band the Expressions back to Australia for their Sydney Opera House debut – on a funky double-bill with Melbourne’s cinematic groovers Surprise Chef.

A funk soul brother who has survived the years with a voice that has not diminished with age.

The Music

A soul legend makes his Sydney Opera House debut

More than 50 years into his career, legendary soul-man and R&B survivor Lee Fields only gets better with age. Powered by his long-running, impossibly tight band the Expressions, the North Carolina blues belter returns to Australia for his very first performance at the Sydney Opera House, setting the Studio alight for one night only.

Once nicknamed “Little J.B.”, for his uncanny ability to mimic James Brown’s moves and vocals, Fields made his debut in 1969 before catching on in the ’70s with enduring classics like "Let's Talk It Over”, "Everybody Gonna Give Their Thing Away to Somebody (Sometime)” and "The Bull Is Coming”, singles that would later become prized collector’s items for aficionados of vintage soul. Buoyed by the resurgence of interest in classic soul from hip-hop and sampling in the ’90s, Fields returned to recording: 1998’s simmering, old-school funk album Let’s Get A Groove On, 2002’s Daptone-released Problems, and 2009’s My World, his first record with the Expressions, all showed an artist in full flight, scorching vocals and irresistible swagger in tact. His rich catalogue of soul has been sampled by artists including J. Cole, Travis Scott, Slum Village, Rick Ross, and A$AP Rocky.

On the back of his first album in three years, last year’s Sentimental Fool, Lee Fields and the Expressions are set to seduce the Sydney Opera House with every inch of their considerable charm.

Surprise Chef
One of the hottest bands on Melbourne’s buzzy funk scene, Coburg quintet Surprise Chef have attracted a cult-like following across two vividly cinematic albums, 2020’s All News is Good News and 2022’s supremely groovy Daylight Savings, and attracted the attention of taste-making Brooklyn label Big Crown Records, who snapped them up last year. The band’s virtuoso journey through funk, jazz, hip-hop samples and deep grooves makes for a hypnotic live set – the perfect accompaniment to Lee Fields’ vintage R&B mastery.


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