Review: London Horns

London Horns, The Crypt, Camberwell. Friday 26 November. Photo by Mark Dodds. Review by Fran Hardcastle

After recent heated and public debate, it would be difficult not to observe that there has been a change in management at The Crypt in Camberwell. However, judging by punters’ opinions past, there is little noticeable change at the venue in terms of ambience and appeal. The cobwebbed charm is retained. You still need a map to find it if you’re not a South Londoner. The locals continue to convene and enjoy the cheap drinks and tasty food in a buzzing convivial atmosphere. And yes, it is still a little noisy.

Fortunately, the London Horns are a band that commanded all the right attention and cut through the din of the happy crowd. Kylie Minogue’s horn section, have worked with some of the biggest names in the jazz and pop industries. Their special guests in the rhythm section on Friday night were no exception. Loose Tubes guitarist John Parricelli replaced regular member Mike Outram for the night and Francesco Mendolia of Incognito appeared in place of Andy Fisenden on drums.

The band performed some original tracks from their new album, Don’t Look Down, which shot up to no. 6 in the iTunes charts just 2 days into its release.

Mendolia’s deeply satisfying fat sound on drums pounded the beat for opening chart, Let’s Bust a Move. Saxophonist Graeme Blevins created an interesting feature solo full of dynamic contrast. The first track appearing from the album, Chunk, hit us with a bit of dirty 70’s style funk. In demand trumpeter Graeme Flowers screamed the high notes with ease in amongst a deliciously tuneful solo. The more laid back chart of I Could Be Wrong allowed for a welcome appearance from the distinctive and divine guitarist John Parricelli.

The first highlight of the evening came from the luscious slow groove, Luxe, with rich building chords in the horns underpinned by military drumming from Mendolia and on the nose bass playing from Dishan Abraham. The chart was a great platform for the rich silky tone of Barnaby Dickinson on trombone.

Moving into the second set brought storming tune, Stiff Kittens, full of the tight funky riffs the Horns are known for. For me, the absolute sparkler of the night was the indelibly catchy Intent, written by Blevins and the first track on the new album. It featured a vibrant, pleasurably dance-influenced solo from Flowers.

All of the music, whilst certainly funk heavy, takes on the scope and influence of the bands’ vast and varied experience, allowing the individually striking players to bounce of each other with gleeful results. A very enthusiastic audience didn’t want to let them finish. I would encourage anyone to catch them live.

See the London Horns on youtube and myspace.

See here for future listings at the Crypt in Camberwell.

Categories: miscellaneous

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