Now you would have thought that two gigs in a row was a bad idea, but I have a habit of signing myself up for these things – I just can’t bear to miss anything that good! My boyfriend bought me Basement Jaxx tickets for my birthday and it has been a long summer waiting for the day to arrive. Then the FatBoy Slim tickets went on sale and we just had to go to that as well! Luckily they were on consecutive nights so it saved us the train fares on separate journeys, but it did mean two expensive nights out in London, plus accommodation and travel. On this night we stayed in the London Balham Travelodge, which I would recommend to anyone who is going to a Brixton Academy gig, it is right next to the tube station and so easy to get between them, close enough for a taxi if it finishes late but amazing access to the tube as well to save costs.
After a heavy and long night out at FatBoy Slim that had seen us partying until around 5am at a second club that had a pool in it, we had spent the day wandering around the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland eating moose and venison burgers, drinking hot mulled cider and wine. It had been a long day with very little sleep, but nothing was going to dampen our spirits. After one night spent raving to the soundtrack to my nineties childhood, I was eager to start dancing to the amazing hits of Basement Jaxx and relive my love of Bingo Bango, Good Luck and Romeo!
The group started with a powerful introduction by the incredibly soulful singers – all fabulous women with huge, multicoloured hairdos and elaborate outfits. It was clear that a lot of thought had been put into every aspect of the staging, with one of the singers being bathed in the spotlight on the balcony above the waiting crowd, before hurriedly making it to the main stage for the rest of the song. From the very beginning, the group had the entire crowd dancing and singing along at the top of their lungs to every word. It was as though Mardi Gras had exploded on to the stage, but with added soul, attitude and bass. Despite the huge range in ages, from the youngsters coming out with their mates, or even their mums, to the older groups of women and middle-aged couples who made up the crowd – everyone was bonded by their love of the music from whichever era.
The gig was explosive, and amazingly even managed to outdo the Major Lazer one I saw there last month. The showmanship was spectacular and just kept surprising the audience, from an incredible body-popping dancer who writhed her way across the stage, to dancers in morph suits with lights all over the front, to a huge robot that came on stage and did the robot dance with a bunch of gorillas! It was chaos, but well organised and perfectly put together. My favourite moments had to be when the group had a slightly more chilled number followed by the huge Good Luck and Bingo Bango – both huge, loud and explosive songs that had me screeching out the lyrics. My boyfriend and I were dancing like maniacs and I couldn’t keep my feet still – it was amazing. A moment that gave me chills, and still does now, was when a stunning ballet dancer reminiscent of Black Swan took to the stage and delicately danced her way around the stage while one of the singers began to sing the lyrics to Raindrops. Amazingly, I had managed to forget that these guys sang that song, despite loving it so completely when it was released. But hearing it sung so beautifully, so delicately and yet so powerfully was incredible. She stripped the song bare and, in contrast to the huge bangers they had just been playing, seemed so stunning in comparison.
I was also impressed by the performance of one of their latest releases, Back to the Wild, which to be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of when I had heard it previously at home or on the radio, but which had a huge impact live and although not as catchy as their older stuff, it certainly made everyone dance and sing along, including myself. Finally, my absolute highlight of the night was, without a shadow of a doubt, hearing the start of Where’s Your Head At. It was one of those moments, like when the Project X theme tune comes on in a club when everyone is smashed, when everyone turns round to each other with their mouths agape and then loses the plot seconds later. It is one of those songs that, ever since seeing it performed live on TV, I have always wanted to see live at a gig and I am so glad it has happened. The atmosphere was beyond anything I have ever experienced – it was electric and sizzling.
It sounds silly, but I’m getting chills just thinking about how amazing this gig was. I am so lucky to have experienced two of my top acts in two nights and I will never forget this weekend – I just hope that I am lucky enough to see them again in the years to come. The nineties were my favourite decade for music because so many of my favourite vintage acts were at their height at this time, but I’m glad to see now that electronic dance music is making it into the top 10 – it is about time we escaped talentless, boring pop music – I can’t deal with any more cutesy love songs by kiddies too young to have experienced their first kiss! Give me hard, dirty, filthy base music in a dark club or a huge venue and I’m happy.