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Live Music Review: Melt Yourself Down at Metronome

21 October 19 words: Alex Mace

There ain't no better venue than Metronome for a Friday night encounter with purveyors of avant-garde funk jazz, Melt Yourself Down...

“I am so f*@king grateful!” cries Melt Yourself Down (MYD) vocalist Kush Gaya as he duplicitously draws the curtain on an exultant Friday night’s performance of avant-garde jazz funk, bringing the frenetic romping down to a simmer; we were just as grateful for the following encore.

No justice can be done by simply listening to MYD through some speakers. To truly bask in the Nubian-draped tones that flow amongst the rapid currents of brutal sax notes and crushing basslines, you have to treat your eyes to the visual and auditory chaos that these masters of musical mayhem create.

Looking behind me as the intimate walls of Metronome’s main hall began to fill, it is encouraging to see Nottingham has come dressed for the occasion. An array of variegated dresses and shirts battle jackets brimmed with patches; grounding yourself in a specific decade is definitely a challenge. All thoughts of confusion are set straight by the grand emergence of the MYD ensemble, an endearingly diverse crew armed with saxophones, bass guitar and some snazzy golden jackets; it is like watching some alternate dimension take on The Avengers.

With a prognosticating light show behind them, MYD save no time for introductions and kick the crowd into first gear with Boot and Spleen, an unrelenting jam that gives space for frontman Kush to fervently unleash his array of hypnotic dance moves upon the floor while bassist Ruth Goller provides passionate vocal harmonies with riffs to take the walls down. Boot and Spleen tops the splashes of new material graciously gifted to us listeners, but new names like Squeeze, Born in the Manor and Crocodile see no feign in the crowd’s energy and if anything, simply pile on anticipation for the band’s upcoming LP in 2020.

Soaring through the setlist now, the floor has amassed into one swarming party. The crowd morph and transfigure as dance partners are flung from corner to corner, melding like a temporary family gathering just for tonight. MYD, with help from the crowd, take the rule book of what jazz could be and tear it to pieces. There is moshing, robot dancing, kissing, people gesticulating some rather sexual notions and plenty more to make any purist slow jazz fan’s collar stiffen. When the stage becomes too tepid, members frequently join us in the pit where Kush and sax-slayer George Crowley pass about the room like living deities; this godly exterior is shattered when Kush falls to his knees in front of an unsuspecting fan.

Spearheaded by the saxes of Crowley and Pete Wareham, Kush takes the crowd through a vocal pounding, commanding another round of screams; with the sore throat that this writer has, it feels like he is my personal trainer screaming for one more rep - it is a snake and charmer dynamic, and so of course the crowd, myself included, happily deliver, too entrenched in elated pleasure to care for our physical wellbeing.

The phrase ‘a gig like no other’ may have been blown to the realms of meaninglessness, but you’ll just have to take my word for it that MYD fit the label; no stretch of the imagination needed. Many bands may refer to their fans as family, but when it is left unsaid and the crowd can feel as interconnected as they did tonight, you know that you’ve witnessed something truly special.

Melt Yourself Down played at Metronome on Friday 19 October 2019.

Metronome website

 

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