This Correspondents article was written by Zoe Anderson, a GIGsoup Contributor. Edited by Michael Liggins
With boundless hyperactivity and some surprisingly filthy beats, The Correspondents are a simply brilliant live act. If you catch them in a small venue, it’s more than likely you’ll see lead singer Mr Bruce scaling the lighting rigs and speakers like some sort of jazz-monkey, while black-tied DJ Chuck lays down some heavy beats on the decks behind him. Mr Bruce is the main vessel of weird energy in this two-man circus. His dancing is like that of a marionette on steroids; legs flying whilst he spins around like Pinocchio and his vocals are like that of a 1950s crooner; disjointed and old-fashioned. Nevertheless, this strange mix somehow all works well as a live act and it was set to be another sell-out show in London on Friday 13th.
The Islington Assembly Hall is an extremely non-assuming venue. From the outside it looks like a building that might be booked out for a sixth form prom, or for a very drunken wedding reception. Inside it’s a two-tier theatre space, adorned with an extremely large disco-ball. For some reason there are four bars spread across the two floors, which is a lot considering how small the place is. Nonetheless, the Friday night crowd were huddling expectantly around each of them, filling out the corners of the downstairs space. A trippy monochrome stage backdrop, set the almost circus like mood perfectly, along with a hazy wash of blue lighting.
The support act for the evening was ‘cabarave’ act (a term they coined themselves) My Bad Sister who bounded onto the stage, dressed in identical harlequin costumes. Twins Polly and Sophie Duinam kept their foot squarely on the gas throughout their set; they moved around the stage in perfect sync, pulling off some seriously impressive shapes in the process. Even their DJ got involved, staging an energetic dance routine behind the decks. Their lyrics are rude, their beats crude and jungle heavy, and it’s really no surprise that they soon had the whole crowd on their side. They glittered and twirled as they rapped about angry fathers, sisterhood and Miss Piggy on acid.
During their act however it became clear that the sound quality was a little bit poor. The speakers sounded tinny and the girls were drowning out the music with their vocals. It’s a shame because their act is enhanced so well by the dirty, grimy simplicity of their beats. But the audience didn’t seem to notice. My Bad Sister are an act that can get by on stage presence alone; they were a real treat to see live.
The inevitable, slow migration to the front of the stage began towards the end of the support act. The Correspondents are well known for their DJ sets, but tonight was set to be a little bit special, with the addition of keys, bass and drums all thumping over Chuck’s jazz-rave sounds. They are an act so unique that it’s worth coining a term for them also. When the band was assembled they turned the energy right up and didn’t let up for another hour and a half. Mr Bruce crowd surfed, danced and threw himself around the venue while his jangly vocals spread through the crowd like wild fire. Their jazz soaked dubstep groove was delectably danceable and everyone got involved with ‘What’s Happened to Soho’ – their best known number.
“I think you can handle something a little…dirtier,” Mr Bruce cooed as Chuck launched into a heavy electronic remix of their song ‘Well Measured Vice.’ Again, unfortunately the sound mixing was simply not up to scratch. Their impressively versatile drummer drowned out everything else around her, making it difficult to appreciate the unique sound that the group has crafted for themselves. It was a real shame, but nonetheless The Correspondents were once again a gorgeous spectacle to behold. They are a stunning live act and a must see for anyone who is looking to get down with their bad self.