Getintothis’ Gary Lambert found that the combination of the Williamson Tunnels, a jungle-themed dancefloor and some cool sculptures made for a memorable night at Fiesta Bombarda.
The first thing noticeable about the sound of Eno G was that there were no hints of Brian Eno at all. This soul-ish sounding nine piece, in reality, frontman Eno G and his eight member backing band, were generally enjoyable enough, although a few sound issues and struggles with the chilly temperature led the band being a bit disconnected with the audience. For a sound like this to work well you need the whole team to be well rehearsed in terms of musicality and image, yet with no collective approach to the performance, it felt a bit undercooked, which was unfortunate as Eno G has a fabulous androgynous singing voice and everybody in the band seems to be a well-schooled musician.
Vowels are an infuriating band. While they are a wonderful, talented and exciting band capable of throwing out pop tunes constantly and getting any crowd in front of them moving, every time we have seen them we are baffled by the frontman’s insistence on interrupting songs to play fairly tunelessly on a synthesiser. Why they do it? Is it the sordid shame of writing pop tunes rather than making difficult art? Does the frontman want to be considered a musician and not just a singer? We really hope it is not the latter as his skills as a frontman show some strong hopes for the future. Even a potentially cheesy “boys sing this bit, girls sing this bit” finale actually came off well in his hands.
Without a shadow of doubt the highlight of the night came from Brighton’s Euphony. Sounding inspired by 1940’s Disney soundtracks and speakeasy bars mixed with an urban sand dance like some sort of council estate Bedouin, they fired out tunes and dance rhythms non-stop. It could be said that they came on a mission from God to make Fiesta Bombarda move, skank, bump and bounce. Dedicating a song to the memory of legendary Bristolian DJ Derek, the band then moved into a more reggae and dub sound compared to the ska of the early part of the set. A cover of nineties gem, Doo Wop (That Thing), “if you don’t know this song, you really need to listen to more music”, was respectful and vibrant with guest vocalist Milly providing some fresh rap moments to it. Their own track Feral, which reminded me of Groove Armada’s Superstylin’, kept the whole audience on their toes and their hands in the air. With an album due out in August this is not the last we will be hearing of Euphony and we urge you to check them out.
Probably for most people in the audience New York Brass Band were the highlight of the night with their series of brass band covers of pop music staples. Whilst everybody else was drawn in from the start of their set with a YouTube-friendly cover of Happy, I was left on the outside of the party looking in. I don’t know if it was sobriety, a passionate disapproval of their “Yorkshire!” chants or the fact that I do not enjoy watching karaoke acts, but I could not get any love in my heart for them.
It might be argued a brass band is a brass band whether they are playing an extract from Dvorak’s Symphony Number 9 (The Hovis theme) or Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up. In fact, at times it felt like this was a ITV Sunday night drama. But Fiesta Bombarda is not about being snarky and a music snob and I did my best to get involved. Hats off to the band for a sumptuous cover of The Beatles’ Come Together too. The scuzzy sounding intro to that song was magnificent and actually impressed me musically.
Everybody else though was happy all the way through with singalong moments throughout with Daft Punk’s Get Lucky seeing people climbing on their friends’ shoulders to get closer to the band. You can bet that does not happen on Scarborough Pier!
If you’ve never been to a Fiesta Bombarda, get a ticket for the next one you can. By the time you read this, their fourth birthday party celebrations might well have sold out, but if they have not then there is only one thing to do. Get a ticket, get a Hawaiian shirt and get grooving front and centre. Even if not every musical act is to your taste, the people wanting to party will be.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Marty Saleh