”So embrace the dawning of a new folk-hop world, where meaningful lyrics can be processed through the rap aesthetic with surprisingly fantastic results”
I approached Camp and Furnace, mandatory top-knot in place, with a sense of excitement and eagerness at a venue that has gained widespread popularity and recognition beyond that of the smaller circle arty-types. Situated in the Baltic Triangle, a mass industrial site-cum-hipster hangout, Camp and Furnace is a place of many faces – bar, restaurant, art space, club venue, and prime location for showcasing Dizraeli and the Small Gods, a troupe that blends folk, hip-hop and funk to an exceptional standard. With support from The Fire Beneath the Sea, Euphony and Cate Ferris the night looked set to be as diverse as a packet of Bassett’s Allsorts.
My preconceived notions of the crowd however were instantly quashed; instead of the roll-neck, floral shirts and super-tight jeans, I was greeted with dreadlocks, baggy clothes and a wide array of hats. Oh, and a guy in a canary yellow suit and top hat bearing a scarily accurate resemblance to Ronald McDonald. The mixed crowd highlighted the appeal of cross-genre acts that were to be exhibited, starting with Cate Ferris who provided the warm-up with her keyboard, loop-station, drum, and tiny-plastic Crayola children’s toy guitar, executing soulful, multi-layered folk-pop. Cate’s haunting vocals silenced the crowd, and her magically crafted harmonies left a mystical aura within the white space of Camp and Furnace.
What appeared to be a rabble lost from a school trip was in fact Brighton-based Euphony, an energetic 9-piece group specialising in ska, dub, gypsy and the like that will have you ‘skanking’ out big-style. They have garnered a strong following, the crowd fully embracing the vigour the band exuberated. Boasting a sound akin at times to that of The Specials, their care-free attitude provided a breath of fresh air as a band genuinely enjoying themselves. The mix of trombone, trumpet, bass guitar and a percussive player who had the most eclectic repertoire I have ever seen (his arsenal consisting of the harmonica, bongo drum, klaxon, melodica (a small plastic keyboard you blow through) and items I couldn’t begin to describe) provided a mash-up of sounds that physically shook the dance-floor. Highlights included the mention of getting on down to a ‘garny riddim’ and members of the crowd saluting the troupe with one shoe raised in the air, though the resulting smell I would have rather avoided. A band geared for live performances, Euphony demonstrated that music doesn’t have to take itself that seriously.
Next up were local’s The Fire Beneath the Sea. Relatively new on the scene, this 13-piece group mix hip-hop, ska, jazz, funk and DnB, resulting in an amalgamation of rhythms destined for the dance floor. Including 5 MC’s, a female vocalist, scratch DJ and brass-band, their sound leaves you slightly dazed and confused, yet with an incessant need to hear more. Unfortunately, some technical issues hindered them from unleashing their true force, but the crowd skanked out nonetheless, collectively bouncing to the complex, high-octane tempos and were left sufficiently pumped for the evening’s headliners.
It was close to midnight when Dizraeli and the Small Gods hit the stage, a collective that has earned much attention from the music press as pioneers in pushing the boundaries of genre and sound; blending innovative, intellectual folk stories with a hip-hop edge. Analogous to Robin Hood and his merry men, Dizraeli has earned his place as being a leading figure in experimentation and ingenuity, his work full of strong imagery and expression. The group squeezed onto the stage and enthralled the audience, their popularity evident with the crowd crooning along to ‘’Reach Out’’, before escalating into dance frenzy with ‘’Never Mind’’. New track ‘’The Depths’’ is well worth checking out, its erratic beats fused with jazz and as always eloquently executed by Dizraeli and the Small Gods. The diversity and creativity expressed throughout the evening was embodied in our headliners in a showing which not only qualified their growing reputation, but suggested there is a lot more to come.
So embrace the dawning of a new folk-hop world, where meaningful lyrics can be processed through the rap aesthetic with surprisingly fantastic results. The night proved an escape, allowing me to indulge in music I don’t usually profess to like, and showed that, in a world where conformity and appearances seem to be everything, there are those willing to experiment, try new sounds, and just have fun.
Words: Katie Tysoe