Sunday, March 20, 2011
360 @ The Soul Food Cafe, The Yardbird, Saturday 19th March 2011
The 16 legged skareggaefunkpunkngroove machine that is 360 has been skanking it up locally for a while now but, with slots at Glastonbury and some profile raising dates in London over the last year or so, the word finally seems to be spreading further afield. It’s justified. I see a lot of live bands but few come close to generating the sheer joy that 360 are capable of when they really hit their stride and tonight, in the relatively intimate (and ever so slightly sweaty) surroundings of The Yardbird, they did just that.
Kicking off with a double header of ‘Kitty Kitty’ and ‘Crazy Lady’ the band skanked though a dozen or so hits in waiting in front of a well and truly ‘up for it’ near capacity crowd. Live music can be a joy and that joy’s multiplied if the dudes up on stage look like they’re having a great time. Hell, it’s arguably as important as the music itself. Put in 100% and there’s a fair chance the audience will respond. Happily, as tonight well and truly demonstrated, 360 have both the right attitude and the tunes, from the out and out skankers through to the funky jams and on to the more mellow reggae numbers. I’ve seen them a fair few times over the past 5 years or so now and...reviewer’s cliché ahoy (but it’s actually true)...they just keep getting better and better.
As well as the group performance it’s great to watch the individual players too. The brass section in particular is huge fun, neatly coordinating some neat dance moves and one bit where they all nod in and out of each other’s way in a circle, narrowly avoiding a teeth smashing collision. Get that wrong and it’d be a dentist's dream I tells ya.
On top of having the perfect voice for the job (able to adapt to the different styles of music) lead vocalist Ross makes an endearing frontman, he seemed genuinely touched by the crowd’s response...revealing that we had, collectively, caused his nipples to inexplicably go erect. Speaking of things sexual, the ‘mash up’ of the band’s various influences is pretty hot too. Tracks often seamlessly weave in and out of various styles...a bit of latin here, some funk there, a dash or two of reggae...along the way without making the whole thing sound clumsy or contrived. I’m no musician but I can’t imagine that’s an easy trick to pull off. Judging by the...ahem... ‘moistness’ of the crowd they were just as impressed.
For some magical reason the Midlands has long been the home of ska and reggae in the UK, everyone from The Specials and The Beat through to UB40 and Steel Pulse were formed on these streets. Now I reckon there’s one more band we can add to the list of greats...I’ll give you 360 guesses who...