Reviews about the Band


The Globe says:

Quite simply one of the best live soul bands around.. Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band have become nothing short of an institution for fun filled live music in Wales! Expect a hit filled set from start to finish!

Geraint Davies ~South Wales Argus:

Almost a quarter of a century after its first gig and by now an institution in South Wales, the ten piece band led by lead vocalist and focal point of the band Michael McNamara played to a full house at The Riverside Suite.

It was immediately obvious from the first number, when audience members were out of their seats (and some on their seats) to dance and sing along, that the audience was largely made up of their loyal following who knew exactly what they’d come to experience…a string of great soul classics played with minimal let up and maximum energy.

It all began, as is customary with this band, with the horn section (as tight as ever) making their weaving processional entry through the audience from the back of the hall to join the rest of the band already on stage.

And from there on it was pure delight as they ran through what seemed like the complete catalogue of soul classics. Particular highlights included Superstition with some wonderfully authentic sounding bass line, Sam Cooke’s Twisting The Night Away, Arthur Conley’s Sweet Soul Music with that fabulous brass riff that almost insists that you spring out of your seat and dance, and The Trammps’ Hold Back The Night in which horns and two female backing singers squeezed every ounce out of the smouldering classic.

McNamara was, as ever, the ebullient master of ceremonies with his familiar gravel-voiced singing interspersed with high-pitched yelps. Maybe the biggest feature was the unanimity of performance from the whole band which exuded confidence and experience gained from years of playing on the circuit.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening then…one would expect nothing less from a band so in tune with this joyful music.


The Stage said:

An explosive start to the evening was provided by Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band. This is the way to play soul and Motown-a full ten piece band, great brass section, girl backing singers, pulsating rhythm section and Big Mac himself on lead vocals-not only great musicianship but also a great performance. I am not surprised that it is one of the most popular outfits in South Wales, as it was absolutely superb. If you book corporate functions or summer balls and want a great dance band, you could do a lot worse. This is a truly hot band.

Big, brassy..soul music at its finest. Stax, Motown the real deal..Big Mac’s play soul music like their lives depend on it! A soul band who enjoy soul music off and on the stage..real soul music buffs who bring their obvious enthusiasm onto the stage with ’em!

Check it out. Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band..a real soul band playing soul music with real soul!

NEW!! Check out the Big Site click here

The Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band group on Facebook informs members of all forthcoming gigs open to the public. See you there!

By Linda Martin, ~ South Wales Echo:

I HAVEN’T seen Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band for several years.
Nevertheless, I was delighted to discover they haven’t lost their appeal doing what they do best – performing raw soul music extremely well.

The fabulous 10-piece outfit recently celebrated their 21st birthday. The band was formed in 1990, just months before the film The Commitments was released. This hugely successful movie, together with their excellent choice of music, helped establish them as the ultimate party band.

The Gate was packed full of people of all ages and the band started their set with a stylish flourish. As they launched into Bottom by The Bum Notes, (the theme tune to the TV comedy series) the alto saxophone, tenor saxophone player and trumpet players made their entrance walking around the crowd before joining the rest of the band on stage. Frontman Mike ‘Mac’ McNamara took to the stage for their next number, Living in America.

By the time they launched into the next song from their soulful jukebox, Sugar Pie Honey by The Four Tops, the crowd was up and dancing. As each new song kicked in, more of the crowd moved from their seats to the dance floor to twist, dance and jive to Twisting the Night Away, Buttercup and Hold Back the Night.

We heard Big Mac’s take on such classics as You To Me Are Everything from The Real Thing, Superstition by Stevie Wonder, I Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye,  Lucille by Little Richard, Car Wash by Rose Royce, and Billy Ocean’s Love Really Hurts.

The dance floor was packed as their set reverberated to the strains of Mustang Sally, Love Train, Midnight Hour, My Girl, and Stand By Me.

While the audience may have spanned the generations, all enjoyed the popular soul music from Mike McNamara and his talented female singing companions, Sarah Miles Callow and Amanda Seed.

Let’s hope we can enjoy gigs from this ever popular party band for the next 21 years!

 Cafe A Go Go said:

Part 1 of the long weekend completed. Fantastic night at the Globe CardiffDJing for Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band. Many years since I last saw them play, won’t leave it so long next time they were brilliant, great sound. The place was rammed and shakin with loads of dancers. Great to catch up at last Mike McNamara, top band you have there. Fab night, fantastic band, great crowd. What more could you ask for! Next up Modstock in London Sat & Sun. Got to live the life you love and love the life you live, its a Mod thing innit.

Neville Thurlbeck, artistic director of The James Whale Radio Show, said:

“Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band is in the premiere league of function bands. Highly polished and broadcastable.”

James Whale said

‘I have to say if I was having a party I would be getting hold of Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band…makes you wanna dance, sing and ding a ling!’

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