Call me Russ L

Festival Festivities 2018: Ay! Get away from that food! (Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul)

Posted in Modern Living, Music by Russ L on 4 August, 2018

I decided to try to write about the music festivals this year and (in the process of doing the first one) decided that I couldn’t be arsed with writing about the actual music too much, and instead would try to identify a theme for each festival. I can’t help but feel, though, that we need some sort of objective measurement so that posterity will know which one was Best. There’s only one definite empirical measure I can think of, really: a sousaphone count. I didn’t see any at Supersonic.

Mostly Jazz Funk And Soul 2018 contained…

One sousaphone!

I might have enjoyed Supersonic more this year, but by the empirical measure MOJFAS wins.

I went on the Friday (Jimmy Cliff day) and the Sunday (Sister Sledge day) – I’ve already seen Candi Staton (headliner on the Saturday) a couple of times and those two days looked like the better line-ups overall. Incidentally, I have seen Jimmy Cliff a couple of time before too (but I like him a lot more) – the programme stating “as far as we can tell, Jimmy hasn’t played live in Birmingham since the 80’s” can be easily forgiven given , given that the small number of people at his Academy/Ballroom gigs in 2003 and 2012 suggested that barely any sod knew about ‘em in the first place.

Themes, then. I couldn’t really detect one for most of the way through. The penny began to drop during Sister Sledge’s set. There were plenty of bits I liked amongst their crowd-hyping arena nonsense, but it all seemed very endearingly confused. “Lost In Music” was used as a framing device that carried on for about three weeks – wandering off into long solos, stopping entirely before starting again, and moving sideways into completely unrelated songs before returning. It went everywhere and anywhere possible before the final resolving chord, like a disco “Tristan Und Isolde” if King Marke decided to do suddenly do bits of “Le Freak” and “Love Like This” for no obvious reason. This was the whole thing in microcosm – the theme of Mostly Jazz was that it was just a bunch of unrelated stuff that happened, some of which was good.

Musical turns of note: Namiwa Jazz, Ash Walker Experience, The Brass Funkeys, Jimmy Cliff (obvs), Noya Rao, Jazzlines Ensemble (with an assist from Young Pilgrims), Laura Misch, Ezra Collective, Fred Wesley & The New JBs (also obvs), Roy Ayers, and I’m going to give a special ‘uncategorisable’ award to Sister Sledge and their strange ways.

Supersonic didn’t have anyone who could be considered as going in an uncategorisable list. Up your game, weirdo noise bands – you not even as enigmatic as Sister Sledge.

(Title quote courtesy of The Jungle Brothers)



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