The

Mick

Sinclair

Archive

Loose Tubes

February

1986

NME

live review

 
 
LOOSE TUBES

Twickenham, Turk's Head

THERE ARE 22 of them, filling the stage and spilling into the audience. They are raggedy in appearance although not in sound, they have an average age of 24 and are, cautiously speaking, astounding.

Their music can focus on the dextrous skills of a particular member or it can zoom and resound with the velocity one would expect from a big band. They jump time signatures, flirt with disorderly harmonies and put salacious marks against a jazzologists list of reference points in a set which harbours elements of swing, ragtime, systems music, funk and even a rock'n'roll parody.

Loose Tubes have an amalgamated CV that takes in Style Council, Bryan Ferry, Elton John, Scritti Politti and others. Perhaps it's their mixture of varied experiences and individual talents which enables them to fly in the face of conventional jazz dispositions and let loose a performance, astutely controlled while often seeming on the borders of anarchy, which is vibrant and unpredictable.

Their main composers appear to be Django (!) Bates, who hops about behind his “modern synthesiser” in a woolly hat, and Steve Berry. The latter, with his green cardigan and spotty tie, looks like a scarecrow welded to a double bass. Both pen memorable works, even if the titles are forgettable.

Meanwhile the grimly humorous announcements of bass trombonist Ashley Slater (loud jacket, bow tie) seem to epitomise the whole glorious attitude. Besides the usual pluses, it's Loose Tubes' lack of cool which makes them... hot.

 

mick sinclair

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