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article imageReview: The Correspondents ride the crest of a wave in London Special

By Adrian Peel     Oct 22, 2016 in Music
London - The explosive duo, vocalist Mr Bruce and his able sidekick Chucks, who provides the genre-bending beats - everything from jazz and blues to electro swing and drum ’n’ bass - played the Village Underground in Shoreditch on Friday, October 21.
The Correspondents were formed in South London in 2007 and though they have some outstanding singles and groundbreaking videos to their name, it's they're energetic live show, a platform for Mr Bruce's infectious charisma and awe-inspiring dance moves, for which they're particularly renowned.
2016 has been another great year in that regard for the band as they continue to justify their reputation as one of the top live acts in the UK. They were included on The Telegraph's top 10 highlights of Glastonbury for two consecutive years (in 2010 and 2011) and once again appeared at Europe's largest music festival in June.
Backed by a feisty drummer named Holly Madge, the pair took to the stage at around 8:15pm. "It's great to be back here again," said Mr Bruce ahead of opening number, "Finally." The crowd duly went wild as the flamboyant singer launched into his first kinetic frenzy of the evening.
The Correspondents live in London  21/10/2016
The Correspondents live in London, 21/10/2016
One thing The Correspondents are particularly good at is furiously updating classic jazz standards. The Naren Wilks-produced video of Mr Bruce doing his thing to a modern take on the Benny Goodman instrumental "Sing Sing Sing" was projected behind as the rubber-limbed frontman again showed off his impressive moves during tonight's live performance of the track.
Mr Bruce revealed that the white spandex outfit he was wearing was being given an airing for the first time and that its thickness meant he was getting extremely hot. "Please, I have some decorum. I wouldn't do that until at least seven and a half songs in," he said sarcastically, responding to cries of "Take it off!" (he later removed the jacket).
Perhaps my favourite Correspondents song is "What's Happened to Soho?" which is about the ongoing gentrification of the famous London borough. "Are you ready?" shouted a pumped up Mr Bruce halfway through, right before the frenetic dance break which saw the bespectacled entertainer fervently traverse the stage to wild applause from the audience.
"Inexplicable" was another highlight. "That's the loudest anyone has ever sung it back to us," noted the well-spoken artist, praising the crowd's participation on the chorus. "Alarm Call," a from-the-heart tribute to Mr Bruce's late twin brother, was played tonight for the first time and was also warmly received.
The last instantly familiar (to me) number to feature was "Fear and Delight," used as the theme tune to the BBC Three comedy series Crims. It's a fantastic song with another superlative video, part of which was projected on the screen behind.
The Correspondents live in London  21/10/2016
The Correspondents live in London, 21/10/2016
Michael Forster
The remaining songs in the set were mainly instrumentals, showcasing Mr Bruce's scat singing skills and, once again, his eye-catching stage presence. "I'm coming in!" he exclaimed at one point, hurling himself into the first few rows to indulge in a spot of crowd surfing.
There is no doubting who owned the stage, but Mr Bruce was humble enough to praise the other musicians, hailing Madge's skills as a drummer and saying of Chucks: "I'm the puppet, but he pulls the strings."
Mr Bruce indulges in some crowd surfing
Mr Bruce indulges in some crowd surfing
Michael Forster
After being a fan of The Correspondents for a number of years, it was great to finally see them in person, and I came away thinking that these talented audio/ visual experimentalists should be a lot more widely known than they are. I would suggest you take in one of their live shows as soon as is conveniently possible.
To check if the band are coming to your town anytime soon, visit their official website or Facebook page.
For more on the Village Underground, go here.
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