JIMMY – nom de pax
In a dark, dark room, there was a dark, dark place, where JIMMY- nom de pax was standing. I couldn’t really see him. I could hear him though. And he was singing sublime songs, with discordant chords and gorgeous honesty. And what a beautiful voice. All luscious tones, some of them bari (tone, not White). But as he moved up from the floor to the brighter lit stage, he started to channel Dylan, singing through his nose, and murdering good prose* and I wondered if he knew that was what he was doing. Back down on the floor, he sang Dylan for real, with a cover of his cover of the lovely ‘Corrina Corrina’. But it was Jimmy’s last offering that really moved me. That was Jimmy in the raw. And the uncooked Jimmy is captivating.
Something akin to Dylan meets Hawley with only one shoe, Jimmy is a meandering wastrel. He deserves all the fame he’s trying hard to avoid. And a hug.
Sometimes babysitter’s go bad. It was touch and go whether half of ShaSh would make the gig. But even Corvid-ridden carers ** cannot keep a good band down, and with seconds to spare all two of our valiant keyboard combatants swept onto the stage.
ShaSh are the types who probably spent most of their Chemistry lessons outside the classroom as punishment for setting fire to all of the magnesium tape at once, and then laughing while it burned. They just keep getting better, leaping between high and low brow like a pair of errant salmon, addressing vital topics like the challenge of forgetting your neighbour’s name (I know that shame) and how to avoid people thinking you’re an overly erudite arse. They’ve found a new morse-code machine (yey!), a voice enhancer (double yey!) and they’ve put more bass welly under their electro-ditties. Now their sound is as layered and tasty as a two-day old lasagne and as luscious as Luke Perry (was). I love them. I think I’m becoming a ShaSh groupie – a Shoupie?
Boiler-suit accoutred acoustic bombardiers from Hull, Bunkerpop delivered deeply dancey, bongo-tastic tunes with relentless aplomb. They’ve subsumed a (half) lifetime of influences into their music and created something uniquely itself. Part traditional band, part rave collective, I imagine at least one of them was having it large in a field in Hampshire in the 90’s. Their cover of ‘Hooky Street’ would have had even Del Boy dancing, and their inventive, 808-noise ridden, possibly ironic, four to the floor tribute to techno was just a little bit genius. They did, at times, challenge my assertion that you can never have too much cowbell, but Bunkerpop had the punters in the palms of their hands, joyfully receiving musical healings and happily joining the impromptu sit-down story-time session.
There’s most definitely talent here – a stonking rhythm section, seriously impressive synthing and a spirited front man who is not afraid to get his guns out on stage. Which isn’t easy when you’re wearing a boiler suit. Eclectic, energetic, and hugely enjoyable, Bunkerpop are like a raucous party inside and outside of your head.
And that was it. Twas an evening superlatively presented by virtual zine Prole Jazz, in a place with mere weeks to live – sadly Café Totem closes on the 21st March 20, as it’s being bulldozed (not to make way for a hyperspace bypass though). Normal service will be resumed at a new location known as Sidney & Matilda.
* a little bit stolen from Eric Bogle
**The babysitter didn’t really have Coronavirus. Corona, possibly. It’s very cheap in Lidl at the moment
Review & Photography by H J Nicol