Imagine Courtney Pine had hooked up with Jez and Superhans, after they’d kicked the crack and made Coming Up for Blair the genuinely great band we all know they could have been. You’d have something close to The Comet is Coming, who crash landed on stage at XOYO with blaster-gun beats set to maximum intensity.
Jazz is currently enjoying its cyclical return to the dancefloor, a phenomenon last seen in the ‘90s with acid-jazz and the jazz-dance craze. Audiences are seeking sustenance from more intelligent beats, and The Comet wasted no time in providing it, setting the floor undulating to the crunchy five-to-the-bar groove of ‘Journey Through the Asteroid Belt’.
The Comet is Coming leave nothing on the stage. Sweat pours off the trio as they send wave after wave of sonic energy crashing over the audience. It all builds from drummer Beatamax Killer. His dislocated beats are atypical, absorbing world-music influences but possessing the drive required to make live electro groove. Danalogue the Conqueror, hooded like a Darth Maul of the Digital Audio Workstation, splatters phat synth patterns onto the sonic canvas, able to lock in with Beatamax whilst still hyping the crowd.
‘King Shabaka’ Hutchings is jazz’s man of the moment. He enriches the concoction with urgent melodic fragments that occasionally bubble over into Michael Brecker-style cadenza; harmonics honking from his tenor sax. Shabaka’s many other projects have proved he is capable of stiller, more lush melodicism, but there is precious little room for this as the Comet hurtle through their set.
Some subtler grooves of the kind ably provided by support act Sarathy Korwar might have enlightened The Comet’s constellation of sounds, but the raw power and energy of the group’s galactic jazztronica leaves the audience no choice but to submit; worshipping the coming of The Comet like a doomsday cult.