And so to Chinese Man‘s sold-out show: I’m usually hightailing it home from gigs at 11pm, not venturing out into the night at that hour but this is a 10pm to 6am gig, so here we are waiting in the rain outside Brixton’s Electric (formerly The Fridge).
The evening kicks off with the Swingrowers, a phenomenal Italian electro-swing trio, playing high-energy numbers and slower ones, such as Mr Sandman. Next is Dutty Moonshine who gets a warm welcome as they launch into a loud, funky mix of tunes which compel you to dance, a glorious mix of electro swing mixed up with all manner of genres.
Chinese Man open with Searching for the Space Monkey, its Hammer Horror-esque organ twiddlings filling the auditorium, complete with spooky visuals. It is a dramatic start to an altogether fantastic night. Together with Taiwan MC and Youthstar rousing the crowd, they absolutely rocked The Electric, taking us on a journey through their wildly eclectic mix of samples, dub, trip hop and reggae, such as Skank in the Air, Le Pudding, Miss Chang, accompanied by their powerful visuals. It’s pleasing to see that there are plenty of fans here in the UK, despite their slightly under-the-radar presence.
For one number, Get Up (see video below) Chinese Man direct the entire audience at the Electric in a singalong. The origins of the song seem hazy, but it was Pete Seeger with The Weavers who brought this song to prominence in the 50s with their beautifully harmonising version.
Get up, get out, you lazy lout
Get into your working clothes
Up to your knees in oil and grease
With a grindstone to your nose
The joy of hearing the opening notes of I’ve Got That Tune are tempered by a realisation that this is probably their finale – as indeed it is. Except for an encore in the form of an exclusive I’ve Got That Tune remix, which Taiwan MC tells us is only the second time it’s been aired.
We wander home in a daze with our ears ringing, songs and beats still coursing around our brains.
THE SMALL PRINT
WHO: Chinese Man plus supports Dutty Moonshine and Swingrowers
WHEN: Jan 24, 2014
WHERE: Electric Brixton, London
TICKETS: £20 approx