This Undercover Hippy Live Review was written by Zoe Anderson, a Gigsoup contributor. Edited by Gavin Wells. Lead photo by Hildes Photography
The Magic Garden in Battersea is a wonderful haven amongst the concrete jungle that surrounds it. The entire place is decked like the ultimate fairy-tale dreamland; the walls are strewn with vines and everything feels almost Wonderland-esque. The feel of the place could be likened to mulled wine- cheerful, warm and wonderfully eccentric. That Saturday, the audience were to be treated to a whole trunk full of funk, and then some. The main act, The Undercover Hippy were to grace the stage at around eleven, but before that, Nine piece London natives Smith and The Honey Badgers, were set to get the lively crowd warmed up with an equally lively set.
The L ‘shaped venue was packed out. From front to back, the whole place jostled with funk heads, ready to get the night going in a big way. Smith and The Honey Badgers blew the crowd sideways with their soulful vocals and droopy drum sounds. The group describe themselves as a DIY funk band; but they stayed fully on point throughout their whole set, with a tight brass section to boot. After warming up the room with their thirty minute set, the majority of the crowd ventured out into a seductively lit court yard, where a recycled taxi cab doubled as a seating area, and a garden shed was repurposed in the same way.
At eleven o clock The Undercover Hippy bounded onto the stage. Billy Rowan and his band of merry men have become a legendary set piece on the southern UK festival scene and it was an absolute treat to see them in such a magically charged venue. The band certainly did not disappoint. Their spicy pot of funk got the energetic crowd really moving and it felt like their set was over in but a few seconds. A particular highlight was a rendition of their best-known tune ‘Boyfriend’ which produced both belly laughs and nifty footwork from the audience. The group are so ludicrously tight that it almost felt like you were listening to a recording rather than five actual humans playing instruments. A special mention has to go to their organ player who managed to create an authentic soulful sound that cut through the rest of the band so well that it felt like a knife through butter.
The venue, the crowd and all of the acts were an absolute treat to watch. Truly there is nothing better in music than funk. It’s a genre that burrows down to your core and then goes a little bit deeper. The Magic Garden certainly hosted an equally magical night, and tends to host events of a similar thread. If you happen to be in the Battersea area, check the place out.