Getting groovy

It was purely by chance that I ended up near the hot sweaty front row of the 9-piece musical band Jungle By Night. What began as a rendezvous with friends at the Joe Strummer Memorial, morphed into a frantic scramble to enter the Crystal Palace before capacity has been reached.

I was a newbie, one who walked in with an open slate and no preconceptions. However, I did have an inkling of what was about to go on tonight judging by the character and classification of other acts which performed in the hallowed, Speigeltent.

It took a moment to register, but yet, these 20-nothing Euro kids were laying down some heavy funk and rhythm. How was this possible? Did they study it in a special funk class in their high school, or was it some weird project hatched by the Netherlands government to bring new diversity to their country.

From their website, I learned the band trades in Afrobeat music which is a modern version of the older Afro-Caribbean section of my favorite record store. The genre has seen a renaissance of late, with the Daptone label emerging out of Brooklyn and fronting popular acts such as Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, the Budos Band, amongst other groups.

Each group is heavy on the horns and the beat, mostly led by the lead electric guitar which hooks the audience and sets them up for the djembe beat and other percussive elements layered on top.

Jungle By Night fits this genre perfectly, though with a little more youthful testosterone and cahones held tightly in one hand while the other hand is thrown skyward imploring the audience to keep it rocking. The band performed “Weapon” ask the audience to go nuts and hop up and down, shaking the baseboards of the Spiegeltent. At one point in the hour long performance, the band asked the audience to sink to their knees before jumping up and down with each beat, a group action that was visibly swaying the overhead chandelier.

It was a hot sweaty night well led by a young group of lads. And there aint nothing wrong with that in my book.


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