On Tuesday evening at Ronnie Scott’s, Tin Men and the Telephone’s ambitious, breathtaking performance took the audience by storm. From the moment the band (Tony Roe at the piano, Pat Cleaver on bass and Bobby Petrov on drums) came on stage in primary-coloured shirts, to open with their subversive take on Wimbledon ‘Tennis’, a deliriously enthusiastic audience waited their next turn with bated breath. It was shortly after this that our attention was caught by their interactive app, Tinmendo, asking us to shake our phones as fast as possible, to ‘relocate’ our choice of noxious world leader.
Trump was skewered by the Tin Men’s hilariously rearranged, and incisively accompanied, clip of his wall-building pledges, and a guess-the-song game (all wild guesses submitted via the app were flashed up on the on-stage screen; the answer was Ed Sheeran), the interactive element caused roars of laughter. It also caused occasional sudden bewilderment. During a gorgeous piano solo, everyone’s phones independently began to flash and emit small cheeps, as though moved to join in of their own accord.
Far from being a distraction, the sheer excellence of the playing was only ever accentuated by this multimedia approach, especially during their lightning-fast improvisation around the audience’s chaotic suggestions of melodies and beats. ‘Just listen and enjoy!’ says the app whenever it isn’t giving you more zany instructions, or lighting up of its own accord – and the entire audience was listening with intent enjoyment throughout, to this uniquely skilled, witty, and inventive jazz trio.
Ronnie Scott’s International Piano Trio Festival 4th Edition runs Monday 21 – Saturday 26 August. Full listings here.