Saturday, November 19, 2011
Mamas Gun / Arabella @ Birmingham Academy, Friday 18th November
Capping off a week of frantic gig going (5 in 6 nights...yes...I know...) tonight might have been a bit heavy going had it not been for the mind, body and soul lifting music of both bands on the bill. Bless ‘em. Sadly we missed opener Kristina (it was really early doors tonight...3.30 or something...) but Arabella - a local outfit from Cov with a neat line in white boy soul – were mightily impressive. Well worth a listen or catching live.
Mamas Gun have been around for about 4 years now, delighting small but perfectly informed crowds in the UK with their instantly loveable blend of soul, funk n’pop. The last time I saw them (about 18 months ago) I lamented the fact that they weren’t playing to a much bigger crowd and, whilst numbers were most definitely up, the same gripe applied this evening. As with their last gig it doesn’t seem to bother them unduly though and I doff my proverbial cap at any band that manages to keep up this kind of relentless energy and effort in the face of much smaller audiences than they deserve. That’s a rant for another day though, tonight was an ass shaking joy from start to finish.
With two albums of gorgeous hook laden soul pop now under their belts there’s plenty of material to choose from and tonight’s set was nothing less than a ‘greatest hits’ show...The Life & Soul, Finger On It, Pots Of Gold, Rocket To The Moon, Reconnection...just one awesome track after another. Soul purists and train spotters may point out the influences from previous generations of artists but Mama’s Gun ain’t a covers band merely rehashing existing tracks, they’re genuinely adding some remarkably great music to the whole soul/funk genre. Perhaps more importantly though they’ve got a knack for delivering a 100% satisfaction guaranteed live show too. I’ve been to some gigs in my time. Thousands in fact. This one has to make the top 10. No question. I normally make notes, analyse, do the odd comparison but tonight all I could do was grin like a loon and shake a tail feather...not a pretty sight I’ll grant you but there we go.
Lead singer Andy Platts is as soulful as a plate of gumbo, ‘The Professor’ (bassist Rex Horan) is possibly the coolest dude in history (check out that ‘tache...), keyboardist Dave ‘Eighties’ Burnell teases out the kind of notes Booker T would give up his MG’s for, Terry ‘Spiller’ Lewis funks his guitar like a man making sweet lurrrrrrve and drummer ‘Union’ Jack Pollitt provides the essential backbeat that drives the whole thang along. It's just a joy to watch and together they put on the show of their lives last night. In fact I positively defy anyone to go see them and not love every single frickin' second.
If you only ever go to one gig in your life, make it Mama’s Gun.