Having previously supported other well known and respected music acts such as Soulwax, Friendly Flies and the stars of the night, Hot 8 brass band, it comes as no surprise that the Liverpudlian trio, Kids On Bridges, are more than familiar with such an occasion. And it showed. They performed capably and are clearly very well rehearsed. The lead singer, Christian Bragg was bursting at the seams with energy and his buoyancy throughout did not go unnoticed. The backing vocals were undeniably impressive, not to mention member Andy Culshaw spectacularly managing the bass guitar and keyboard in tandem.
However, it’s doubtless to say they were an odd choice of support for a principally New Orleans hip-hop ‘feel good’ funk night. They audaciously played up to the occasion. Unfortunately however, they were (understandably) met with a reserved crowd. Political punk was just not what the masses signed up for.
To play my own devil’s advocate; politically conscious punk, infused with elements of funk, is simply bold. In this respect, Kids on Bridges’ performance some what became relevant to the headline act. A collaboration of the melody from one of their own – ‘Kidology’ – and a chorus riff’s of Daft Punk’s ‘Robot Rock’ was neatly executed and probably as ‘funky’ as their set got and in turn the highlight of their performance.
Justifiably, the octet from ‘across the pond’ were welcomed with a more attentive, ampler audience. Well known for covering classic crowd-pleasers, the crowd were immediately very pleased. Hot 8’s vibrant rendition of Snoop dogg’s ‘What’s My Name’, was accompanied by fan favourites such as Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’ and ‘Ghost Town’ by The Specials.
All was played with traditional New Orleans fashion. Jaunty jazz tones and hip-hop beats effortlessly involved each and all, marching/parading in unison. During the penultimate song the band had everyone to dancing along to the lyrics of ‘Get up’ after inviting the whole dance floor to ‘get low’. Positively the most stand out moment. Understandably, Hot 8 exited the stage leaving us wanting more with EVAC’s core rocked to the sound of “Encore!”. Retuning to the stage with endearing words: “You’ve been nice so we give back”. And they definitely gave back, in the form of an absolute STOMPER, and personal favourite, Rasta Funk. A fitting finale, to an exuberant evening.
Words: Julian Jefferies