Push, are long time veterans of the UK funk scene having been around since 1987. They were at the forefront of the London Rare Groove scene and their members are some of the most in demand funk musicians around, playing with Candi Station, the Funk Brothers and Marlena Shaw whenever those artists play in the UK. They’re a tight, funky combo made up of drums, bass, guitar and tenor sax. In a similar vein to the Brand New Heavies, they play a dance driven set and feature a dude called Angelo Starr on vocals for a couple of uptempo numbers. His lively performance is reminiscent of Dyke & The Blazers. All in all, a fitting support slot for the main act.
It’s great when old bands come back to tour and also have a new album to promote and Cymande have done just that, with a new album called “Crazy Game” to showcase tonight. It follows the Cymande blueprint of funky percussion, chanted choruses and soulful vocals and was put together with most of the original members of the band as well their original producer John Schroeder.
They take their name from the Calypsonian word for “dove”, and it’s amazing to think that they started out over 40 years ago and were made up of a bunch of self taught London musicians who were originally from different parts of the Caribbean.
They create a unique mixture of Soul, Funk, Reggae and Rock, and it’s no surprise that they found fame in the States and have subsequently been heavily sampled by the Hip Hop generation. In fact, it was a long time before they received any recognition in the UK, even after they had achieved success in the States which says a lot about the UK record business.
It’s a brilliant show and it’s great to hear songs like “The Message”, “Bra” and the Curtis Mayfield influenced “Brothers On The Slide” performed by the nine original members, including saxophonist Michael “Bammi” Rose who currently plays in Jools Holland’s big band. A highlight of the set is their funk driven version of Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up” which is underpinned by some uptempo Nyabinghi drumming from Ray King. They get an enthusiastic reception from the sold out crowd and it’s great to see them back and still bringing the Rasta influenced funk.