Molotov Jukebox – The Deaf Institute, Manchester (27th November 2015) – LIVE REVIEW

This Molotov Jukebox article was written by Hazel Webster, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Ben Kendall. Photographs taken by Niall Webster and Jenessa Baber

One rainy evening in November, Molotov Jukebox landed at The Deaf Institute for their sold out gig with a bang. Supported by The Church, who kicked off proceedings in style with their musical comedy routine, which is based upon an American style church service where you could well find yourself taking Holy Communion with absinthe instead of red wine.

The Church entertained us with renditions of ‘Mashed Potato Time’ and ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’, before leading in to a section where three members of the audience were brought on stage to confess their sins. The first person admitted to having a liking for sex alfresco, whilst the second confessed to having used her Granny’s garden as a toilet.

Both were forgiven for their sins and left the stage.  The third sinner, however, didn’t get off so lightly for it was revealed that she had set up a business inside a brothel. Even Sexy Jesus could not forgive her unless she atoned for her sins… By drinking half a litre of absinthe. She downed the lot in almost one go which was awarded with rapturous applause and praise. Atonement complete, she too left the stage. Finishing off the show with ‘Praise You’ by Fat Boy Slim, this crazy bunch of entertainers thoroughly warmed up the crowd for the main event.

Before long it was time for Molotov Jukebox to take to the stage, and from the moment they appeared were met by loud cheers, whistles and applause. Lead singer Natalia Tena looked stunning in a colourful mini dress and headdress, her cheeks adorned with glitter. The stage of this intimate venue was completely packed out by the band, but that certainly didn’t deter them from delivering a fantastic performance. Small The Deaf Institute may be, but the atmosphere was massive.

The volume and intensity only increased as they launched into performing the first track of the evening, ‘Trying’. To classify the sound of Molotov Jukebox, would be akin to confining them to a small box because it’s much more than just one style. Nicknamed ‘gyp-step’ by their fans, their music is an eclectic mix of tropical, gypsy and dance, with a dash of reggae thrown in for good measure.

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Armed with her trusty accordion, Natalia Tena addressed the crowd “Are you ready to be a good test audience?” A large part of the reason for this stellar six-piece taking to the road, was to showcase tracks from their forthcoming album ‘Tropical Gypsy’, and judging by the response she received, the answer was a resounding “hell yeah.” With that they launched into ‘Leave Your Light On’, the first track of the evening from what will be their second full-length album, and it does not disappoint. Violinist Sam Apley was clearly having a ball and fear was felt for Miss Tena, who had bravely gone barefoot, as he jumped around in close proximity to her tootsies.

The band also performed favourites from past releases, one of which ‘Don’t Panic’, from their 2012 EP ‘Bang’, went down a storm with the crowd, who danced and sang along with great enthusiasm.  One thing you can expect from a Molotov Jukebox gig is a party from start to finish, it’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on!

Special mention has to be made for trumpeter Angus Moncrieff, who simply put is flaming amazing, the speeds he could reach while playing his instrument was astounding and how he managed to keep it up at times was beyond belief. The great thing about all members of Molotov Jukebox, is that each of them are incredibly accomplished at what they do.  There are no half measures here, they give their all and as a result sound as close as you could possibly get to a studio recording, with the added electricity that can only be felt during a live performance.

Drawing the show to a close, they performed a raucous rendition of ‘I Need It’. No one wanted the show to end, and the air was still filled with eager anticipation even as the band left the stage. Sure enough a few moments later they were back to perform their encore. “I think I need some god in me” claimed Natalia Tena and at once she was joined on stage by two Holy Mary’s from The Church, for an energetic performance of ‘Get Ready’ by The Temptations. During the song, one Holy Mary indulged in a bit of twerking with Tena. Hopefully the absinthe wasn’t too far away, because some absolution was surely needed after that!

One last song was performed before Molotov Jukebox left the stage for the final time. Let’s hope it won’t be too long before they bring the carnival back to Manchester, for another epic night of entertainment.

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