Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Led Bib: Sounds New Festival

If there is something I don't usually associate with Canterbury it is Jazz.  Jazz music played in dimly lit rooms filled with soulful sounds and chilled grooves seems more suited to backstreet Parisian dens overflowing with cigarette smoke or spilling out into the New Orleans night air as dancers twirl up the street.  I certainly didn't expect to find it in the converted hall of Canterbury Christ Church University and yet this is exactly where I found myself on Sunday night, awaiting the arrival of progressive jazz band Led Bib.  
The Anselm studio was transformed.  Heavy black drapes blocked out all sign of the starlit night sky outside.  Round tables were lit by tea lights giving the room a soft glow, picking up on the cool blue vibes of the stage lights.  Groups of people were softly talking around the room in counterpoint to the chilled out jazz music playing through the speakers as we awaited the arrival of the band and I felt an overwhelming need to go and find a honey hued whiskey.
Led Bib enter silently and take up their positions centre stage.  There is no ceremony, no introduction or long-winded speech.  They simply pick up their instruments and we are catapulted into the voice of new age jazz, electronic sounds ghosting through the centre of the two saxophones whilst the keyboard player is furiously tinkling the ivories.
The sound is heart pounding and electrifying.  The keyboard player undulates to the music, head and back moving in perfect synchronicity.  The band have their eyes closed, lost in their own sound.  The music is frantic and furious, a hedonistic frenzy that makes you want to dance wildly around a bonfire.
Jazz music is about the soul and this is pure soul, pure raw energy and pure heart.  It just screams out at you, unbelievably powerful and almost uncontrolled.  
This is jazz with a punk aesthetic.  The lighting cast shadows and then flashes into brightness as the tempo quickens then is taking right down again as the drummer's sticks scrape over the edge of the cymbals and a heartbeat thuds out of the keyboard, matching the thumping in my own chest.
Led Bib's sound is unforgettable, fresh and new and yet so familiar to the ears.  It is jazz music grown up, moved out and throwing a coming of age party.  The energy is infectious - people around the room have no choice but to ride the wave with them and the appreciation is evident.  At the end of the gig the energy is still high and people are excitedly milling around the group or purchasing their latest album.  I must admit - I was one of them and walked away with my own copy of The People In Your Neighbourhood.
This gig marked the end of the Sounds New Festival for me.  There were so many events to go to, and so many experiences to try out that I feel incredibly lucky to live in a city which celebrates such musical diversity, which exposes people to new emotions and feelings and most of all broadens their minds.

Sounds New will be back again so make sure you get the opportunity to try out something a little new for yourself.

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