Sep 10, 2009

Posted by in Birmingham, Reviews | 0 Comments

Mr Elephant Reviews # 3 by Emily Poyser – Shambala Festival

Mr Elephant’s news and reviews #3

Mr Elephant shakes its trunk at Shambala”


Something magical has been happening in a heavenly forest, tucked far away near Market Harborough.

This weekend, the Mr Elephant collective donned its wellies and raincoats to experience an assortment of emerging and established talent from the Midlands and further afield.

Birmingham favourites, the Destroyers and Boogie Dave put the city firmly on the Shambala musical map. Bristol’s finest gave the crowd the what for, introducing acts such as Yes Sir Boss, Bizali and Carnival Collective. The revellers were privileged to see legendary acts such as Dub Colossus and The Egg, and were treated to a secret gig by Coldcut. Take a look at some of these sexy highlights and delights:

Kokolo opened the Shambala Stage on Friday afternoon. The New York afrobeat band meshed together funk, dancehall and polyrhythms. Bizali followed shortly after offering a Róisín Murphy wannabe attached to a Bjork sounding band from Bristol.

Moving over to the second alfresco stage, delightfully situated next to the ground’s lake and manor house, Miss Cecily played a beautiful set on the Lakeside Stage. Miss Cecily performed with a talented six-piece band encapsulating jazz and soul to Latin and klezmer.

By way of a birthday present, Coldcut played a secret AV set for the last hour of the roller disco in the Kamikaze Tent. The set offered 80’s delights and feel-good samples from classics such as Little Miss Sunshine (Super Freak) and the iconic Hiphopopotamus rap from Flight of the Concords.

Another of Birmingham’s regulars, The Apples, kicked off the evening’s entertainment delivering their signature explosive live experience. The Tel Aviv musicians spontaneously kicked ideas up and down the stage in a torrent of decks, horns, double basses, drums and electronic effects. They, of course, finished with their fantastic Rage Against the Machine cover Killing in the name of.

Saturday was brought into its prime when Zion Train followed the enigmatic Royal Gala and picked up the pace ten-fold. Described as one of the best dub acts around, these guys have been leaders in the roots reggae field for over 15 years and the energy and dynamic still remains. The crowd was worked up into a dub frenzy, with the band feeding the crowd some of their classics tunes.

The Correspondents, made up of DJ Chuckles and Mr Bruce, filled out the Kamikaze Tent on Saturday evening. The set started with their rendition of Jungle Book’s I wanna be like you. With some masterful MCing throughout, Mr Chuckles dropped the genius Ghost remix of It’s all love and finished off with some incredible drum ‘n’ bass with lyrical masterfulness.

Crazy P Soundsystem took the tempo down after The Correspondents with her soothing voice and dancefloor groves. The Bays followed at a drowsy 1 o’clock in the Kamikaze Tent, bringing the mood into a different dimension with their musical adventure of drum ‘n’ bass, techno and hypnotic beats.

Slightly deflated after all those nitrous balloons, Sunday was put into fifth-gear with some mind-blowing dancing from Tikambilanie. This collective brings together rhythms and dances from Zambia’s seven main tribes and got even the most temperamental of toddlers stamping their feet.

Sunday evening saw the Carnival Collective bring out the sunshine with their enchanting drumming. This extraordinary collective used their traditional Brazilian instruments and percussion to play reggae to break-beat, encapsulating the carnival that is Shambala.

The eagerly anticipated Dub Colossus closed the Shambala Stage shortly afterwards. The might of the lead vocalist took many somewhere more spiritual than they’d been all weekend. The set took the listener on a journey of African musical heritage, capturing some of Ethiopia’s finest performers. Shambala was truly privileged to see this performance.

This festival encapsulates what every festival should: innocence, general sillyness and tea! Happy 10th birthday Shambala.

Check out this year’s Shambala photo album and see if you can spot Mr Elephant in action.

For more crucial rantings and ramblings about Shambala pick up a copy of this month’s Night Times.

emily_poser@hotmail.com

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