Saturday, May 14, 2011

Safari Funk Party ft Real Fur and The Castillians @ Selly Soak Launderette, Thursday 12th May 2011

There are lots of things you might expect to find in a launderette...odd socks, used panty fetishists, old men drinking White Lightening cider, students making their once a term visit (which is pretty much how often I bothered washing stuff)...but a gig, well, that’s a little more unusual. However, crammed in amongst the washing machines and tumble dryers London’s cult Safari Funk party came to town for the very first time. There’s something great about watching a gig in somewhere other than a dedicated ‘gig venue’ feels a bit illicit (it wasn’t, Rudy the owner – lurking near the doorway – got one or two shout outs throughout the night...nice one Rudy). And, despite my reservations about how it would all work, it’s a funking great idea (the tops of washing machines particularly seemed to come in handy as viewing platforms).

After some laptop DJ’ing - inspired by two young ladies with a bit of an obsession with Taylor Dayne’s seminal classic ‘Tell It To My Heart’- The Castillians (drafted in at the last minute as a replacement for MC Sarpanch) put us all through the spin cycle with their fuzzed up fast and furious brand of surf/garage (oh alright then, surf/launderette) rock. Part of the legendary Coldrice collective this is music in the raw...dirty, sweaty and ever so slightly dangerous. I’ve said it once, and I’ll probably say it again, but Birmingham’s spawned some incredible ‘garage’* sounding bands over recent years, most of which have something to do with local promoters / record label Coldrice. Coptor, The Big Bang, Swampmeat, The Rivers Presley Set, The Black & Reds (not Coldrice affiliated as far as I know, but awesome none the less)...and that’s just scratching the surface. The Castillians are right up there with the best of ‘em, a tequila soaked slap round the chops that’s guaranteed to leave you begging for more.

Although London based now, headliners Real Fur have a link with the Midlands thanks to lead singer Leo’s Walsall roots so there was a lot of love in the room to kick off with. It’s hard to imagine this lot failing to win hearts (and feet) though thanks to their instantly addictive tropical / afrobeat sound (think Vampire Weekend on a Caribbean holiday).

Pretty much every track was new to me (there’s not a lot online yet either...this stuff’s as fresh as a box of Persil) but (apologies if the titles are wrong here, I was guessing a few) ‘She’s Late’, ‘The Money I Spend’ and ‘Pride’ all pushed the button. New single ‘Animal’, currently being promoted on this tour...yep, all their dates are being played in laundry’s...closed the set in appropriately funky style prompting some particularly energetic dancing from the Taylor Dayne posse. It’s the perfect introduction to the Real Fur sound, tribal drum beats, phat Fela Kuti rhythms and a throbbing bass bed. Add a nice bit comedy gold when it came to promoting their t-shirts “the only ethical way to wear Real Fur” and it was a pretty perfur-ect night all round. I haven’t had this much fun in a launderette since a mate of mine decided to pop a discarded pair of ladies pants on his head at the precise moment their owner returned to collect ‘em...and believe me, that was fun.

Check out the Safari Funk website for details of future dates across the UK and keep your eyes and ears open for Real Fur.

*I use this term loosely to describe a raw, rock sound within which there are obviously a multitude of sub genres and styles...but basically it all rocks.

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