As I study the gathering audience, I start to
wonder if I’m at the right gig. There’s
a real eclectic mix at tonight’s Basement
Jaxx gig, with everyone from preteens to rapping
women in their fifties (yes, really).
Master Shortie as support is a great choice.
He delivers a unique blend of dance and hip hop
and has plenty of stage presence to boot. As the
only support for the evening, we’re treated
to a lengthy set, before Master Shortie and his
band exit the stage to make way for the main act.
I’ve never seen Basement Jaxx live before,
so I’m not prepared for what they’re
about to throw at me. I’m anticipating a
couple of geeky guys behind keyboards with a few
dancers and singers adding bits here and there.
Wrong. After a short instrumental track in complete
darkness, two ‘larger than life’ singers
(including the talented Vula Malinga) parade onto
the stage, one dressed in a full-on wedding gown.
Before I’ve managed to get my head around
this configuration, they leave the stage to be
replaced by two more women dressed in old-school
disco attire, complete with multicoloured tracksuits
and jewellery made from Lego. The performance
seems quite segregated, with this continuous procession
of dancers at the front, and the timid musicians
(including the two founding members of Basement
Jaxx themselves, Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe)
hidden behind their barrage of electronics at
They cram all their classics in: ‘Oh My
Gosh’, ‘Romeo’ and ‘Jump
N Shout’ all make an appearance. A refreshing
change of pace comes in the form of chilled out
new single, ‘Raindrops’, during which
Felix comes out of hiding and sings at the front
of the stage.
Towards the end of the set, things take a further
step into obscurity with the addition of yet more
dancers and collaborators, and countless more
costumes changes; most memorably a cheerleaders
outfit and a skin tight lycra skeleton suit. I
begin to wonder how they all got here. Besides
the menagerie of dancers and singers, there are
tonnes of electronic equipment, keyboards, drum
kits, and a horn section. It’s all a bit
of a mess, and yet it works.
To round of the evening we’re treated to
‘Where’s Your Head At’ complete
with 4 or 5 gorillas dancing about the stage,
before their extended set comes to an end. If
like me, your experience of live shows is limited
to rock music, Basement Jaxx are the perfect way
to broaden your horizons, and I guarantee you’ll
have a blast.
Master Shortie – 3/5
Basement Jaxx – 4/5
Review By Helen Williams