London based jazz, punk, funk group Melt Yourself Down are at Exchange, Bristol to promote their new album ‘Last Evenings of Earth’ – their first since their eponymous debut back in 2013.
Founded in the winter of 2012 when band members from a disparate array of outfits formed to create Melt Yourself Down. Consisting of saxophonist Pete Wareham (Polar bear and now defunct Acoustic Ladyland), vocalist Kushal Gaya (also disbanded Zun Zun Egui), saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings (Sons of Kemet, The Comet Is Coming, The Heliocentrics), drummer Tom Skinner (Sons of Kemet, Mulatu Astatke, Hello Skinny), bassist Ruth Goller (also of Acoustic Ladyland) and percussionist Satin Singh (Fela!, Transglobal Underground).
I must confess I was not previously familiar with the bands work but after a couple of friends recommended I should go, here I was on a chilly Friday evening in a dimly lit room waiting for Melt Yourself Down to start. Exchange by now was chocker to the rafters with fans of all ages, and before we know it Ruth Goller commences proceedings with her blisteringly good bassist talents, before long the rest of the Melt Yourself Down have appeared and the gig is on.
The audience are clearly buzzing, after half an hour of slightly subdued fair (by, I can now tell, the bands standards) Dot to Dot is played and the crowd erupts, along with my pint sized Irish friend I’ve come along with disappearing into the sea of people in a moment of rocket launched exhilaration. I guess we can say she likes what she hears!
Singing in a mixture of English and Mauritian Creole vocals by Kushal Gaya are on point. Saxophonists Pete Wareham and Shabaka Hutchings are also on form and the mixture of North African musical styles, punk, jazz and funk really works. Kush and the rest of the band are clearly enjoying themselves as much as we were.
The subdued nature is no more, as Melt Yourself Down rock out one high energy tune one after the other. Each song the crowd are getting more and more lively and moshing by now is in full swing, one woman literally bouncing off of her friends and any passer-by who got in her way.
Lead vocalist Kush who when living in Windmill hill on one heady bonfire night took relish in setting off rockets from his head (don’t try this at home kids), and who didn’t hesitate in practising his guitar skills to Hendrix at 3am, much to the annoyance of his office bound fellow flatmates. You could say Bristol’s loss, London’s gain.
It’s probably a good thing there were no fireworks in sight then, not that they were needed the audience were already in a state of euphoria without rockets being launched into the mix. All of a sudden Kush runs, jumps and without hesitation launches himself into the crowd. Whilst still impressively managing to carry on singing.
An hour and a half of sweaty dancing, jumping, bouncing and the now ubiquitous band staged selfie (for Kush’s Mum no less) the gig is over and everyone has a smile on their face. Consider me a new fan. This is a band you need to see live.
‘Last Evenings of Earth’ is out now on The Leaf Label.
Check out ‘Dot To Dot’ right here: