The pleasure and excitement ingrained in the passions from debut album Moving In The Dark meant that there was a heightened anticipation for the appearance of Disraeli & The Small Gods at The Boileroom in Guildford. Could the septet evoke the same power and emotive grip on thoughts and heart in the live setting as on their stunning album as well as find the richness of sound and temptation within their irresistible hip hop/folk fusion was the question on the mind on the way to the venue for this date on their so far very successful tour.
The turn out on the night looked slow initially but it is not unusual to find people turning up later in the evening at the venue from past experiences, and so it proved to the pleased satisfaction of show promoters TST Live Music Surrey, who provided us with a real treat, watch out for their future events is our advice. The evening was sparked into action with the fine and unexpected impressive presence of Grace Savage. Already renowned as the UK female Beatbox Champion of 2012, there was slight expectation of it just being a display of her undoubted talents to set things off, but instead what charmed and warmed the air was a blend of her stunning
skills into a performance of vocal and musical strength brought with a creativity which was just immense. To begin with Grace looked nervous yet confident with only the later aspect soaking her first full song Wrecking Ball. From a beatbox tease which had people instantly opened mouthed, Grace left no one in doubt to her singing ability, harmonies and notes as subservient to her vocal skills as the craft to beatboxing is to her inventive imagination and ability. The first track was sensational and the power she demonstrated not to forget the melodic beauty, quite sensational, whilst the two guys alongside her sharing bass and guitar duties for each song, a perfectly restrained yet rich presence to her instantly impressive display. Merging more beatbox skills in demonstration and song was enthralling but it was the actual songs like the commanding Animal and, forgive us if the wrong title, Prowler which left a fire of thrilled pleasure inside. With an album in the works, Grace Savage is an artist to keep a close ear upon for she will undoubtedly be huge at some point, ironing board and all (an emergency substitute for a forgotten piece of equipment). It must be added, and surely I was not alone, that Grace inspired a personal attempt at her amazing skills on the way home and even using multiple orifices, it was a lost cause.
The appearance of Dizraeli and his musical cohorts was met with such great excitement that you sensed the crowd was more than knowledgeable towards the band. They immediately seized the ear with We Had A Song, the word conjuring and expressive delivery of Dizraeli leaping around thoughts with electric breath and emotive infection whilst musically The Small Gods weaved their own contagious design. The song was an instant magnet which captured the majority of the venue, apart from a few with ardour for their own voices, though all succumbed not long after. As refreshing as the sound was the natural between song engagement between band, especially Dizraeli, and the audience, a mutual tease which brought an inclusion of all to the night something quite satisfying compared to the usual we are the band watch us scenario so many artists still hide behind. It enclosed the atmosphere into a more personal embrace which impacted on the lyrical narrative which drives the passion of songs even more potently in the live landscape.
With songs like Sailor and the excellent To The Garden, the voice of the audience rose in energy and hunger to match the sounds with the first explosive crescendo of lustful energy coming with The Instanbul Express, a pre-show favourite of a great many one suspects such the riotous union between the passion inciting piece of music and eventful bodies. The track proves just how inventive and powerful the band is, and addictively creative with the rampant beats of drummer Paul Gregory just one example of how the individual musicians cage finesse and unbridled musical boisterousness with skilled ease. Such the fire and impact of the track one suspects the heat generated at that moment in the room was detectable from space.
The lyrical painting of Dizraeli was easily as striking live as within their studio recordings, something which arguably surprised as you could imagine its clarity being defused within the furnace of stage performance but within tracks like A Trick Of The Moon and Little Things as just two examples, it found an even greater impact on the night, beautifully enhanced by the seductive voice of Cate Ferris as well as her flute magic, and the guitar imagination of Lee Westwood, who also offers great vocal support. The sirenesque tones of Cate especially add another dimension to songs in sound and emotion and again find another depth and flavour live, as shown with her stunning solo song, her voice seducing alone to impossibly transfix a crowd with goosebumps running their fingers down the back of most necks there I am sure.
From Strong Bright the night began its rolling crescendo of a climax which lasted over five songs, each conspiring together to leave the audience blissfully exhausted and enraptured. The outstanding Moving In The Dark brought another rise in temperature with no one by now sat flat on their heels whilst the two recent singles brought everything to a head, ably helped by another treat splitting their incendiary presence. Nevermind threw the local emergency room into panic such its hypnotic temptation on the feet and heads of the audience, whiplash a distinct possibility, whilst the show closing Million Miles had every ounce of energy physically and vocally from band and moving onlookers spent.
Not forgetting in many ways the less dramatic presences but certainly no less stunning craft of DJ Downlow, Jules Arthur, and the upright bassist who was new to me and whose name escaped detection on the night, the performance combined was unquestionably one of the most impressive and importantly, enjoyable encounters for the senses for a long, long time, and the whole gig itself a real treat to linger in the memory..
There are good shows, there are great shows, and there are Dizraeli & The Small Gods shows, DO NOT miss them if playing in a town near you.
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