Wristbands were collected from Rich Mix, and while we were there we thought we'd see what kind of acts they had on. The downstairs was the African Rootmaster area, while upstairs was playing host to the Acoustic Boutique. The foursome on stage downstairs weren't doing much for us - a little too easy listening so we hopped into the "Disco Lift" to go upstairs.
|Disco Lift Operator - (c) Gareth Reid|
Upstairs we came across one of the most truly unique acts I've seen in ... well... ever! His name was Ichi and he was a one-man-band. I don't know how many instruments he managed to go through in his set - there were really too many to count and too many to name, especially as some of them seemed to be handmade and wouldn't otherwise exist. He had bells on his feet, used a pedal to hit a drum, played a sort of banjo and 'sang'. He introduced each song but it was impossible to understand them. I'm really not sure if they were in English, Japanese, or other. It was very odd, but also transfixing. Almost impossible to describe, so just watch this video.
After he was through we had things we wanted to see in the Polka Tent at the Bedroom Bar so we went directly there. We were just in time to catch Cut A Shine leading the crowd in a barn dance. I get the impression they are used to bigger spaces to work in, and it was necessary to take out all the tables and chairs to allow just enough room for people to jig about.
Some of the dances were quite intricate and definitely not doable with a drink in your hand which means we didn't get involved in the first three or four. But we did dive in eventually. A dance which involved running in two massive circles, then doing some sort of dosey-do with several strangers until you got to 'lucky seven' with whom you just span around for a bit. It was exhilarating! I was beaming at the end of just one song. Actually, I didn't even make it to the end, it was so high energy, I was getting a right sweat on and decided to sit down to catch my breath. My other friends soon joined me, having the same idea.
|Cutting a rug with Cut A Shine - (c) Gareth Reid|
Ska Cubano were playing when we got over there, the last act of the night at that venue. They were bloody brilliant, a great way to finish off the night. Everyone was in high spirits, the music was upbeat and fun. People were dancing around with smiles and abandon.
|Crowds at Ska Cubano - (c) Gareth Reid|
Hopefully next time!