BIGYUKI + BUTCHER BROWN + ROHEY | London, Rich Mix

Earlier this week the EFG London Jazz Festival joined forces with the Good Music Company to deliver a double-bill of the highest order (Kneebody + Jason Lindner’s Now vs Now) so it’s fair to question how you top that with a second night in the same vein. The answer, is to turn a double into a triple.

First on stage: Rohey, combining the sound and style of Hiatus Kaiyote and the front-woman charisma of a seasoned festival headliner. Under-overdressed in a black t-shirt and a silk dressing-gown, singer Rohey Taalah delivered powerful vocals with a band of keys, guitar and drums to propel the four-piece into cosmic jazz pop. Moving from older tunes like ‘Suffocating Box’ complete with deep groove and beat to newer more lyrical numbers, the Norwegian group really got the ‘show’ going with the help of an atmospherically-lit stage almost as well-dressed as Taalah.

Next up, Butcher Brown. The quintet from Virginia comprise multi-instrumentalist and producer/engineer, DJ Harrison, bassist Andrew Randazzo, guitarist Morgan Burrs, horn-player Marcus Tenney, drummer Corey Fonville and boy can they play. With an approach broadly described as ‘garage punk jazz funk’, they deliver variety across the set with a strong lean into the funk end of that spectrum as the music progresses. Like Rohey, it’s their first time in the capital and their verdict is that ‘London is tha-shiiiiiit’. The feeling is very much mutual.

And so to the not-technically-the-headliner-but-playing-last-in-the-bill ‘headliner’ Big Yuki. With cascading scales coming up for breath between heavyyyy drum and guitar riffs, Yuki has something cool going on. With dreamy keys reminiscent of Bill Laurance juxtaposed against purposeful, deep grooving rhythm and bass, the band summons something of a Massive Attack sound that anyone who likes ‘Teardrop’ would dig. It’s a set worth the wait, although the surprise act of the night is not the keyboardist’s Donut shirt but the downright angelic vocals of drummer Timothy Lamont Smith. The saccharine sounds emanating from behind the drum kit was nothing short of mesmerising and despite the face-melting finale of the set, this was the element that lingered in the memory of an altogether wonderful evening. Good music? You can say that again.

The 2017 EFG London Jazz Festival continues until Sunday 19 November.

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