Monday, 27 May 2013

King Salami & The Cumberland 3, Suzi Chunk & Groovy Uncle and Les BOF! Live at the Hipsville Weekender

Photo by David Williams
It was such a shame that the first ever Hipsville Weekender coincided with a very busy weekend for me, but I was determined to try my best to get along to sample even a small part of it. When I saw that King Salami & The Cumberland 3 were appearing, that was it, I definitely had to go, and I arrived at Bisley Pavillion on the Saturday evening just before Les BOF! took to the stage. The band, comprising Angus from The Thanes on guitar and impressive mutton-chop sideburns, Colin on Bass and Ross on drums, kicked things off with "Rue Marcel Sembat", the instrumental opener to their excellent album "Nous Sommes...Les BOF!" which is released on one of Retro Man Blog's favourite labels CopaseDisques. Suddenly, livewire vocalist Laurent made his entrance from the crowd, jumping over the crash barrier at the front to join his colleagues on stage, dropping to his knees to burst through some exceptional harmonica skills. Laurent's Marseilles background injects a Gallic twist to their brand of Garage Rock and gives them a welcome shot of individuality. The crunching chords to "Ils Vont Tuer Le R'n'R" brings to mind The Sonics and then there's the wicked fuzzed guitar of "P-Club" and "Vivre Avec Toi" which are both superb songs. The band throw in some well received cover versions such as "Hanky Panky", "Jezebel" and "Leaving Here", and Laurent leaps into the crowd to join in the dancing. Les BOF! are a great little outfit, summoning up the spirit of some of the best of Sixties French Ye-Ye such as Jacques Dutronc, Delphine and France Gall. 

Les BOF! - Photo by Steve Worrall
Les BOF! - Photo by Steve Worrall
Next up was the delightful, soulful voice of Suzi Chunk, backed by the Medway based Psych Power Pop band Groovy Uncle, tonight featuring Bruce Brand from The Masonics on guitar. They played a great set, drawing mainly from the must-have album "Girl From The Neck Down" (State Records). Songwriter and guitarist Glenn Pragnell sings lead on the Groovy Uncle tracks such as "Play Something We Know" and "Got Any Mantras?" with Suzi doing backing vocals, they reverse the roles on Suzi's songs and it all works out really well. The upbeat Motown styled Soul of "For The Millionth Time" and romantic smoocher "Got My Eyes On The Prize" are complimented perfectly by the Beatles Hamburg-era rockers such as "Tripwire" and the 60's guitar riffs of "Look Back and Laugh". The highlights for me were "Girl From The Neck Down" and the great Power Pop of "Vanity, Snake Hips and Hair" and I was left hoping that this won't be the last we see of this excellent collaboration.

Suzi Chunk & Groovy Uncle - Photo by Steve Worrall
Glenn Pragnell of Groovy Uncle - Photo by Steve Worrall
And then it's the moment I'd really been waiting for, King Salami & The Cumberland 3, and they were everything I'd been hoping for and more! The multi-cultural line-up of Caribbean, French, English and Japanese cram as many ingredients into their music as their combined backgrounds suggest. Garage Rock, Soul, Ska, Rockabilly...all infused with a manic Punky edge and a dash of Looney Tunes style cartoon humour, it's a dream party concoction that defies anybody to stand still. King Salami himself is like a manga styled cross between James Brown and the Tasmanian Devil and is one of the most charismatic front-men I have seen in many a year. The band don't stand around waiting to be upstaged though, in fact they don't stand around at all, and the combined antics of each are a joy to behold. Drummer Eric Baconstrip seems positively miffed that he has to sit down to play and drums with an energy that makes it seem like he's itching to get up and join in up front. 

King Salami & The Cumberland 3 - Photo by Steve Worrall
"Betti Moretti" is fantastic and "Do The Climb" and "Yosemite Sam", which includes a snippet of The Batman theme, crank up the fun factor notch by notch. "Just My Kind" sees the brilliant guitarist Pepe Ronnie slam out the great Dr. Feelgood Wilko Johnson intro and it's one of my highlighs of the night. "Trubble Trubble" is a delight and then it's the Bo Diddley beat of "Ma Juju Girl". The band then don Red Indian head-dresses and saxophonist and percussionist Chuchi Sobrassada a comedy arrow through the head for "Big Chief". There's a mind blowing bass line from Kamikaze U.T. Vincent who then bravely proceeds to climb a precarious PA speaker stack to finish the rest of the song. The great tracks keep on coming with King Seb Salami rattling his maracas and imploring the audience to join in on "Less Bone More Meat!", "Howlin' For My Woman" and the classic "Do The Wurst". Then there's a brief blast of the "Looney Tunes" theme to end on a suitably manic note and the band exit to rapturous applause. We're treated to a great crazed encore of "Mojo Workout", with the crowd all joining in singing along and then that's it, it's all over! A quite brilliant performance from what must be the hottest band on the block right now.

All King Salami & The Cumberland 3 photos above by Steve Worrall
As well as the live music, there was much more on offer at Hipsville, such as vintage and retro clothes stores, record stalls from Dirty Water Records and Soundflat Records and an impressive selection of cool classic hot-rods, motorbikes and vintage cars parked up outside. Of course there was also the fabulous array of Go-Go dancers, such as the wonderful Linda Go-Go and the The Meyer Dancers, who really added to the party atmosphere and helped get the crowd into the swing of things. I was also really impressed with the DJ set by Farbror Fuzz from Norway, especially as he played one of my all-time favourite Lyres songs, "Help You Ann" from "Lyres On Fyre", and some other great tracks such as The Bluestars "Social End Product" and Shocking Blue's "Send Me a Postcard", his set went down a storm. Here are a few more photos of the evening...

Photo by Steve Worrall
Photo by David Williams
Photo by David Williams
Photo by Steve Worrall
Photo by Steve Worrall
Suzi Chunk and Bruce Brand - Photo by Steve Worrall
King Salami - Photo by Steve Worrall
Although I was only there for the one evening I was really impressed with the organization and smooth running of things, there was a decent sized crowd and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and entered into the spirit of things. It must have been a tough job to keep it all going over the whole weekend, I know I get stressed out enough just doing a one-off gig, so this must have taken it out of the Hipsville organizers and let's hope that they decide to go ahead with a Hipsville next year too - I will make sure I keep the whole weekend free this time!

Photo by David Williams
With many thanks to David Williams for allowing me to publish some of his excellent photographs. For more photos of my visit to Hipsville's Saturday night activities, please "Like" the Retro Man Blog Facebook page for access to the Photo Album.



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