WORDS: Sanjiv Ahluwalia
United Vibrations at Jazz Refreshed, Mau Mau; Thursday 5th August 2010
Four piece London collective, United Vibrations, created a riot of sound at Ladbroke Grove’s cosy Mau Mau bar, with one of the best gigs by a new band I have seen.
The friendly venue complete with a new, loud, clear system, was the perfect setting for the tour de force of different musical styles (punk, African, aboriginal, moody rock à la Radiohead) rooted under a jazz umbrella.
Despite some technical problems with the excellent Wayne Francis’s saxophone (dressed in a Dangermouse t-shirt, apt as the band dip into different styles akin to Mr Brian Burton) this was easily mitigated by the equally impressive skills of drummer Yussef Dayes and Ahmad Dayes on trombone, and the masterful Kareem Dayes on bass.
The band produce a hypnotic unique melange of sound; there is the rootiscal draw of ska guided by the trombone; the tribal chants of West Africa; rhythm of aboriginal music; celestial lyricism of Sun Ra; and importantly some expert blending of rock and jazz. The band do not like to be categorised, as is documented in their lyrics, but suffice to say there is a strong jazz presence, at times sounding akin to the band Polar Bear. They are immediately engaging, confident performers and throw the audience into a whirlwind of sound.
Special mention to drummer Yussef Dayes whose playing at times was dazzling, and as I was perched on a cushioned stool at the front, the tiny stage was a suitable frame for the power of his drumming (which at times caused the drums to take a walk).
United Vibrations musical mix encompass a reflection of our diverse capital city, and the band put any profits made from their music into a sustainable housing project (more details here). A worthy cause indeed, but you need no reason other than the wonderful dynamism and adrenaline rush of seeing this band. Highly recommended.