Getintothis’ Shaun Ponsonby headed down to the Kazimier for a refined opening night of the Liverpool International Jazz Festival.
This year, the Liverpool International Jazz Festival has started to gain some real momentum, with an ability to book higher profile acts for larger venues. Tonight, The Kazimier is completely rammed for festival openers, Mercury Prize nominees GoGo Penguin.
Support came from Fishprint, a skilled saxophonist who peppers in a few self-deprecating jokes along the way. At one point he says about his tenor sax “I found this in a skip, so forgive me”.
He is respectfully received by the majority of the audience. Towards the end of his set, his style of playing becomes increasingly eccentric, insomuch as it brings to mind the immortal words of Principal Seymour Skinner in The Simpsons; “Give it up for Lisa Simpson and her wacky sax!”
GoGo Penguin begin with new material, before delving into selections from last years’ acclaimed V2.0, beginning with The Letter. The Manchester three-piece manage to mould what appears to be jazz-influenced percussion and bass with a piano style closer to Debussy than Thelonious Monk.
What strikes as most surprising given the acoustic set-up of the band is the obvious influence of electronica. Drummer Rob Turner often plays rhythms that wouldn’t be out of place coming from somebody like Aphex Twin. It’s a style that is often pleasantly jarring.
With the exception of one group of middle aged blow hards in the corner – who members of the crowd, this writer included, felt the need to tell to, quote; “shut the fuck up” – the band had the packed house in an almost hypnotic state throughout.
As they finished their main set without playing Hopopono, arguably their best known piece, it was obvious the encore was planned. But, the cheers from the appreciative audience suggested that they would have been called back anyway.
Photos by Getintothis’ Vicky Pea