Support for this one comes from Beta Hector which is the solo project of Simon Hill, a member of brilliant Brighton funk band Baby Charles. For this set he’s drafted in Baby Charles’ vocalist Dionne Charles to lay her powerful soul vocals on top of his heavily layered beats. It reminded me a little of the stuff Joyce Simms used to do over those great Mantronix productions. Their set sounded great and I’ll definitely be looking out for some more from Beta Hector as I’ve already got their current 7 inch single “Payback” .
There’s been a soul and funk scene brewing in Sydney and Melbourne for a good few years now and The Bamboos (who’ve been around since 2001) are probably the best of the bunch. They’ve had the “deep funk” sound locked down for a while and have gradually branched out so that their sound encompasses hip hop, breakbeat and jazz. The perfect culmination of this being their fourth album, aptly (and lazily) titled “4”.
They’ve been associated with (in my opinion) one of the best record labels in Brighton, Tru Thoughts for a while now too, so this “local” gig turns out to be a busy and well supported one. The band comprise lead guitar, funky drums, fender bass, hammond (yippee!), a tenor sax/flute player, trumpet and baritone sax. Melbourne based Kylie Auldist is the lead singer. In turn her voice sounding powerful, sultry, funky but always underpinned with soul.
Most of the songs are from the accomplised new album with stand out track and current single “You ain’t no good” sounding particularly great live. It sounds like something that wouldn’t be out of place on a Gnarls Barkley album, which is no bad thing, and shows that The Bamboos can turn their hand to the soulful, poppy song as well as lay down the deep funk.
Between the hammond and the drums, the funk is laid on thick and the intricate guitar work and punchy horns are perfect additions to the overall groove. They’ve been together for a while now and it shows in the great level of musicianship. They’ve also found a great voice in Kylie Auldist too, as she can mould her vocal range to the many styles that the band delivers. She doesn’t say a great deal to the audience though, just gets on with the job of belting out the tunes. Always a gripe of mine as I like a front person to engage the crowd but that’s just a personal preference.
A good band, great to dance to who are evolving their sound with each album. The Bamboos are excellent live so catch ’em if you get the chance. Big up to Tru Thoughts for signing them too.