They call their music ‘pop soul funk’ – and the Brazil­ian out­fit UP N GO play Nam­buc­ca in Lon­don. It’s their sec­ond per­for­mance as they played a last-minute set at Ron­nie Scot­t’s jam ses­sion where the band got to show off their ver­sa­til­i­ty with a set of cov­ers to suit the jazz and blues evening (such as Amy Wine­house­’s Valerie and Etta James’ At Last). Lon­don crowds are known for being a tough nut to crack but UP N GO proved to be a big success.

UP N GO’s five mem­bers got togeth­er in Brazil in 2013 and have played fair­ly con­sis­tent­ly in Belo Hor­i­zonte (their home city), Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. I asked the band’s vocal­ist Luc­cas when he start­ed song­writ­ing: ‘I start­ed at about 15, but pro­fes­sion­al­ly speak­ing, I’ve been writ­ing for the band since 2014 and we’ve been per­fect­ing our sound since then.’

Despite the pop soul funk tag, there’s a dis­tinct­ly Brazil­ian feel to their sound although Luc­cas explains they sing in Eng­lish to widen the band’s appeal – the band have their sights on a glob­al audi­ence. Rhythms such as Bossa Nova and, most dis­tinct­ly, the per­cus­sive­ly dri­ven and slinky baiao are part of their music, mak­ing UP N GO impos­si­ble to sit still to. ‘We’re bring­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent,’ Luc­cas adds, ‘mix­ing up the genres.’

I asked Luc­cas which artists have pri­mar­i­ly influ­enced the band? ‘High up there is Michael Jack­son. And we also love Bruno Mars and Maroon 5.’ The band direct me to a video of Olo­dum’s Michael Jackson.

For their first Euro­pean for­ay, the band and their small entourage flew over from Brazil to Ger­many, where fol­low­ing in leg­endary rock n roll foot­steps, they rent­ed a cou­ple of camper­vans to get them to their gigs across Europe. Catch them at Nam­buc­ca in north Lon­don for their sole UK per­for­mance before they head back on the road for their next stop in Portugal.

UP N GO play Nam­buc­ca fol­lowed by more dates around Europe, Octo­ber 2019

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