Gig Review

Basement Jaxx
Master Shortie
Birmingham, Academy
23rd April 2009
Basement Jaxx      Master Shortie         
Photo Of Master Shortie © Copyright Helen WilliamsAs 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.

Photo Of Basement Jaxx © Copyright Helen WilliamsBefore 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 the back.

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.

Photo Of Basement Jaxx Crowd © Copyright Helen WilliamsTowards 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

 Basement Jaxx

Simon Ratcliffe
Felix Buxton

 Master Shortie

Master Shortie

 Band Related Links
Bassement Jaxx Myspace
Master Shortie Myspace
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?