LIVE: Basement Jaxx (O2 Academy Bristol, 1/12/14)

Two decades of fusing different dance music styles has turned Basement Jaxx into an enthralling live act…

London-based dance duo Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe celebrated 20 years as Basement Jaxx this year, and their eclectic fusion of musical styles was in full effect on the sold out Bristol leg of their latest tour.

Taking Junto – their seventh basement jaxx bannerstudio album – on the road, they presented several tracks, including Never Say Never, Power to the People, Rock This Road, Mermaid of Salinas, and Unicorn. But if they’ve mastered one thing over the past couple of decades, it’s how to create a well-balanced set for their live shows. This one was peppered with all of their biggest hits.

Opener Good Luck set the tempo high and it was one that never really dropped, despite some heavier dance interludes that represented more of a pure take on their garage and house origins than the chart successes that they are most well-known for.

Any disappointment at only getting truncated versions of Oh My Gosh and Raindrops was more than compensated for by the inclusion of Red Alert, Romeo, Do Your Thing and Rendez-Vu in their (almost) full glory.

Rainbow-themed costumes and stage lighting set the scene for the message of peace and partying that they have strived to achieve with the altogether more upbeat and ‘sunny’ new album. This is carried off to perfection on the live stage by a stellar group of supporting artists that Buxton and Ratcliffe have assembled. Vocalist Shakka – previously in Bristol as support for Rudimental earlier this year – is a stand-out talent, whilst double-act Vula Malinga and Sharlene Hector are fantastically charismatic front women.

Highlight of the night however, had to be Where’s Your Head At. Not only did this see Buxton unleashed from his otherwise fixed position behind the decks to perform the vocals, but he was joined on stage for a breathtakingly manic and energetic few minutes by the rest of the ensemble of singers and dancers. There was also a man dressed as an ape, presumably a nod to the infamous monkey-based video that accompanied the 2001 song. Bonkers, but brilliant.

The full version of this review first appeared on the Bristol events and listings website 365 Bristol

Basement Jaxx – Good Luck (featuring Lisa Kekaula), 2003:

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