Live at Spitz, East London
When there's no rock, indie or metal anywhere to be found in the nation's capital, what is metaller to do? Why, go and see a random, off-the-wall act with some kind of a hook. The Incredibly Strange Film Band certainly have that. Everyone can appreciate well re-mastered covers of their favourite film and TV themes. Consisting of former members of Hot Chocolate, The Cole Porters and Bad Manners, ska stylings as well as talent is to be expected.
Spitz is a rather small, trendy venue in East London. No layers of smoke, graffiti covered walls or people with more piercings than Keith Flint here. I must admit a certain amount of trepidation. This is certainly not shaping up to be a night of crowd-surfing rowdiness. The nine band members do little to improve this image until they begin to play.
Opening up with "Randall and Hopkirk: Deceased" certainly made me sit up and take notice. The band performed the tune flawlessly and with confidence. The brass section in particular conveyed their passion for each song extremely well. The stage was dominated by the trombone player who, at one point during "Miserilou", decided to air guitar with his trombone. During the first set, the band performed such classics as "Captain Scarlet", "Mission Impossible" and "Enter the Dragon". Not the kind of music you can dance to, but certainly good fun to hear live.
Their guest female vocalist, Sophie Shaw delivered a powerful performance during her rendition of "Goldfinger", sounding almost identical to Shirley Bassey. At points, I was expecting her to shorten the notes, or fail to reach the higher tones but this was not to be. Her powerful voice complemented the band perfectly. I doubt I will ever hear a better performance of "Goldfinger". This was followed by an equally impressive "Diamonds are Forever".
The second set deviated from TV theme tunes and moved into the Ska and Funk domain. The crowd has been rather subdued up to this point and although appreciative, everyone was rather stuck to their seats. The second set focused on "funkier" 60's and 70's tracks such as "Soul Bossa Nova", "Theme from Shaft" and "Carwash" making the crowd leave their seats and take to the floor. The band played on till midnight, culminating with a Ska version of "2001: A Space Oddessy" before finally moving onto their signature tune, "Starsky and Hutch".
Ska and funk are not everyone's cup of tea. However, the Incredibly Strange Music Band are not only talented, they love what they do and who can really say no to listening to their favourite theme tunes being played live? I still cannot believe they played "Pinball Number Count" from Sesame Street. I guess that sums them up. Quite strange indeed.