- Golden Teacher
It’s not often everyone is dancing to the first track of the night, but that’s disco for you. Much like their psychotropic namesake, GOLDEN TEACHER take us for an interesting ride. The Glaswegian six-piece’s opener is the disco of yore, an infectious sound that sweeps the room much like it swept the world in the 70s. The two singers lead the choreography with swagger and confidence, radiating energy and pleasure in equal measurements. Bounding into the following song, we take a sharp turn into Fela Kuti territory, Cassie Oji (Vocals) affects an African accent and Charles Lavenac (Vocals) somehow pulls off an even more powerful voice.
Golden Teacher continue their blend of afrobeat, disco and electronica while refusing to be pinned to one genre. Their songs are almost endless, whipping the crowd into further frenzy. They close on their sixth epic and, with sweat-drenched clothes, they’re due a breather. ESG are still to come. I’m in a state of joyful shock, “One of the best in a while,” my friend remarks, and I nod in agreement. I come dangerously close to dancing, a rare sight.
Hailing from the South Bronx projects in the 70s, ESG bringing with them their weird and wonderful punk and funk fusion that’s not at all dissimilar to new wave contemporaries A Certain Ratio and Talking Heads. While you may not have heard of ESG, you’ve probably heard their music in tracks from Wu Tang, Dilla and countless other hip hop artists. Sadly, the band on stage aren’t entirely the original four Scroggins sisters, but their lean funk sound remains. It’s truly stripped-down music, just a driving bass and percussion that reflects the pick-up-and-play punk ethos of the era. They don’t explode into dance as Golden Teacher did, but we’re bobbing along to their raw unadulterated funk in no time. A few tracks in, Renee Scroggins (Vocals, Guitar) takes a break from the mic in favour of her guitar for U.F.O., by far their most sampled track. Conga player Nicholas Nicholas dons an alien mask and begins putting Oji and Lavenac’s moves to shame; while the older members may lack energy, he brings it in spades.
Sadly, it’s the first and last time both the guitar and mask are taken out, but it certainly makes for a memorable moment. ESG’s set has a meaner tone compared to Golden Teacher’s hyperactive dance session; however, it’s no dampener, as everyone’s still moving. These guys haven’t lost their ability to perform and entertain; their final track looms and whistles are passed out to the audience. Erase You’s chorus kicks in and the whistles do too, the crowd manically blowing along. The song closes out, but we’re not out of breath yet, and the inevitable chant for more begins. We’re indulged not once but twice, the fabled double encore. Still got it.