Not sure if I’ve mentioned my good friend Nilkesh on here before but last night he came to visit me from his home in Manchester. Whilst sat in a great little bar on Hoxton Street called Troy munching on an extremely tasty plate of Carribean food and listening to a young Jazz collective sound check, Nil took it upon himself to mention that the Robert Glasper Experiment and Bilal were playing at The Barbican, then dowsed the flame of excitment with the fact it had been sold out for months. Not to be perturbed for too long by such obstacles we finished our munch and jumped into the next taxi we could find.
On the way I started to scroll through my phone to try and find a way in. Although that didn’t lead to a direct hit, my boss rang me to say he was thinking of booking him for Village Underground after our preview evening for London Pleasure Gardens (which is tonight). No need to guess where my thoughts lay on this matter.
There was no joy in buying returned tickets inside so we took to the screens they have there to watch the set (what a great idea). This only accentuated our feeling that we needed to be inside though so without going into too much detail we used our old school blagging skills to get through the door and then a lot of luck to find two spare seats next to each other (it was meant to be sold out remember).
It turned out to be one of the best Jazz / Soul gigs I’ve seen in a long while with some amazing performances from all of the musicians involved. There was a beautiful and brave cover of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ with Musiq Soulchild on vocodered vocals. There was also a few other choice moments from the recent album ‘Black Radio’, a respectful tribute to Dilla and even a (very highly improvised and largely unrecognisable) piano solo version of ‘Hanging Tough’ from Robert (there were a few playful slices of cheese). Then during the encore they announced an extra gig at Village Underground! So that is what I shall be doing tonight after our preview evening, I highly suggest you come and join me but may need to be quick on grabbing tickets!