Since our glowing review of their debut album Adventure, we at GIGsoup have been following every endeavour from the brightest band in modern jazz fusion. This time, the four performers are filling Cadogan Hall with the Capital Orchestra to run through a set of newly arranged works.
The Capital Orchestra is made up of (and conducted by)
students, so the prejudiced opinion may expect a lesser performance. However,
any possible concern was thrown far away from the opening notes of the live
premier of the new Laszlo tune ‘Press Start’. Alternation between majestic
melodies, electronic heavy beats and some incredibly late-on-the-beat performances
from the incredible percussion section.
‘East’ is the first Lydian Collective track of the night, and
its explosive basslines are teleported to another dimension by the brass
section which turn an innocent piece of jazz fusion into a James Bond theme. ‘Child’
(by LC guitarist Todd Wheeler) doesn’t pack the same punch, but allows the string section to shine.
‘Shapons Vindaloo’ was made famous
by Snarky Puppy themselves thanks to a collaboration with Väsen. An incredibly
complex 23/8 time signature (split into 7/8, 7/8, 9/8) and string showcases show
off the folk influences within, being performed with exceptional tightness by all 89
musicians on stage. While she’s arguably still the most talented musician on
the stage (and I still think she should be the most in demand session musician
in the UK at the moment) Sophie Alloway’s drumming is slightly buried by the
work of the four other (also brilliant) percussionists around her.
The first half of the show came to a close with a cover of
the Pat Metheny track ‘Third Wind’, in which the Capital Orchestra guitarist channelled
the guitar virtuosity of the man himself. Despite the talent in the room and
amazing LC tracks being played, it was this solo that inspired the biggest
response of the night.
‘Loops’ opens the second half, with the brass basslines creating
a truly apocalyptic feeling through their rumbling texture and colossal
heaviness. ‘Mr Sunshine’ works particularly well alongside the orchestra, with
the Lydian mode employed in full to create the brightest, happiest melody possible. Conductor Sam Gale also
divulges the interesting titbit that Aaron Wheeler composed the track on the
While ‘November’ and
‘Cartoon Hero’ work well too, it becomes more and more apparently that Lydian
Collective will be yet again avoiding ‘Thirty One’. Its bouncy rhythms and addictive
melodies would make it the perfect tune to arrange, but for some reason they’ve
avoided it once more.
Towards the end of the show,
Gale informs the audience of his orchestras depressingly un-unique situation,
announcing their hiatus from live shows for 12 months due to lack of funding. In
a difficult time for the arts, this is a set of musicians who deserve to be
able to play. Make sure you donate here in order to help them out.
The main set comes to a
close with the most recent LC tune, ‘High 555’. Its built on an Ida Hollis
bassline which, in normal circumstances, sees her hands impressively weave
their way around the neck of her bass. In this circumstance, five double basses
surround her like an army, each throwing their arms around their instruments to
keep up with the winding motif. Somehow, it works perfectly, and the track
builds into an ecstatic and perfectly tight climactic chord.
The show comes to a close
with ‘Legend Of Lumbar’, which combines every element of tonight’s show into
one four minute package. An atmospheric opening leans into some complex
rhythmic stabs, impressive soloing, amazing tightness and a huge final chord
which echoes around Cadogan Hall.
A well-deserved standing ovation meet the musician, continuing to prove the importance of the criminally underrated Lydian Collective. However, this show also helped to prove that the Capital Orchestra and incredibly talented group of musicians who I’d love to see alongside other bands at some point within the next 12 months.
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