Sunday, October 04, 2015

Gadjo at the Magic Garden

The Magic Garden, Battersea
Friday October 2nd, 2015

My Barcelona-based friends Gadjo were over in London for a couple of gigs. I hadn't seen Fraggle (accordion, vocals, dear old friend) for a couple of years, so got there early to catch up with her before their soundcheck. It's a lovely venue with a covered garden space out the back. You forget you're in London and feel like you're a festival. And, a happy surprise, Ash (of now defunct Canterbury good-time band Famous James & the Monsters, now living in Brixton) was working at the outside coffee bar, sorted me out with a pot of Earl Grey.

Support band Rum Buffalo were fun, clearly huge Gadjo fans and overjoyed to be supporting them. More focussed on the swing aspect of the Gadjo "mestizo" sound than all the other stuff. Unfortunately they started later than planned and went on a bit longer than planned, so I only got to catch half an hour of Gadjo, but what a half hour! I'd forgotten how fabulous they can sound, a 12-legged everything-matic music machine (double bass player George has had Lyme's Disease, so has sadly left the band for now, but Paul's holding down the bass lines most effectively on his sousaphone). They've got the cumbia and the Balkan and the klezmer and the ska and the gypsy-jazz, and somehow melded it all in a non-convoluted way. There are now many bands trying to do something approximating this in UK hippy festival world, but Gadjo make it seem effortless, and they have charm and warmth and humour. So just when they were seriously starting to cook I had to run for the last train to Canterbury, but with a huge smile on my face.


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