Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cafe Creme + Mr. Lovebucket

I've not seen a lot of live music for a while, having been working with Matt T on Volume 2 of our trilogy (taking turns putting together playlists, listening to an eclectic mix of Orchestra Baobab, Mötörhead, Laura Veirs, Sun Ra, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Emily Portman, Curved Air...). There were a couple of improv session at Tom and Miriam's while he was around, so he joined us and played some percussion which really helped the music to gel (some of that can now be heard here).

Matt's been working on fellow ex-Spacegoat Stella's new album, and recorded me playing some saz parts for "Still" and "Heron Song", at her request. I thought they sounded a bit clunky, listening back, in contrast with the finessed guitar playing of Richard Osbourne (Hearth, etc.) and the violin parts by Nuala (Headmix Collective, etc.), but she seems delighted with the result, so I must have done something right ("like being transported to Pan's own woodland on midsummer morning", was how she described it — praise indeed!)

* * *

BUT, on Saturday 23rd October (full moon), Orange Street hosted a Furthur Canterbury Fringe event featuring local Afrobeat band Mr. Lovebucket (yes, a terrible name for a great band) supporting a Parisian Afrobeat band called Café Crème et le Frères Smith.

Having so enjoyed helping with the Furthur field setup at LOTF this summer, I got involved during the daytime in helping the Furthur crew transform the space (I was mostly wiring up twinkly lights). As a soundtrack we had Dawson's most excellent choice of grooviness via Spotify (Brazilian, African, Jamaican and Canterburian) which made me think of Gilles Peterson in his heyday, some who could bridge the space between these musics.

This was a truly excellent gig, one worthy of all of the effort that went into it, and worthy of the Furthur name. The two bands have been touring with each other in France and in the UK, staying in each others homes, gigging quite a lot recently, so they were both fully "on", enjoying themselves, members of each band guesting with the other. Café Cr`eme were an 11 or 12 piece, with full percussion and horn sections and an excellent keyboard player. They happily drifted into Ethio-jazz territory for at least one piece. Joel was doing an exceptional job behind the sound desk, everything sounded clean and nicely separated, quite an achievement in that space with a loud band that size.

It's a shame that I was quite exhausted from not enough sleep and too much of everything else. Flopped on a comfy sofa with a bottle of Kentish ale, losing myself in Le Rig's groovy analogue/digital hybrid projections on the large back wall (painted white especially for the occasion) I couldn't believe that I was struggling to stay awake. I couldn't let something like this pass me by, so forced myself up to join the dancing mass who were taking up the front half of the room.

An MC called "Solarman" or maybe "Suleiman" freestyled on a track with both bands – despite having an impressive rhythm and flow, I could hardly understand a word he was saying (nothing to do with an unfamiliarity with hiphop, just the usual problem of successfully miking MC's, or their inability to articulate as well as, say, Phi-Life Cypher). Angus from Mr. Lovebucket guested on guitar all through CC's set and ubiquitous saxophonist Jimmy Ross got up and wailed with them on the last track, to great effect.

Here they are at home in Paris, joined by Fela Kuti's legendary drummer Tony Allen:



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