Russell Thompkins Jr. and the New Stylistics are appearing in The City in a show of old-school R&B at its most sublime.
Backed by a smokin’ seven-piece band (with horns!) and two smooth vocalists, the original lead singer of the Stylistics, his unmistakable falsetto intact and sweet as ever after four decades, is serving up classic 1970s Philadelphia soul at the Rrazz Room.
Nicely, there’s little filler in the show. Background singer Raymond Johnson, also a member of the original Stylistics, takes a moment to introduce the band members, who each get a little solo. Under direction by keyboardist Kenny Thompson, they sound great, supporting Thompkins’ inimitable voice. (Jonathan Buckson rounds out the vocal talent.)
Elegantly and succinctly, the group pumps out tunes that defined an era. Here’s just a short list: “Stop, Look, Listen,” “You Are Everything,” “Break Up to Make Up,” “Stone In Love With You” and “People Make the World Go Round.”
Noting the room’s intimacy, Thompkins said it matched his favorite song of all the hits, “Betcha By Golly Wow.”
Fans at Thursday’s performance swooned at their seats, feeling brand new upon hearing the great old Philly tunes, songs that haven’t gone out of style after so many years.
IF YOU GO
Russell Thompkins Jr. and the New Stylistics
Where: Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. today-Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $42.50 to $47.50