QuanticBam!Bam!Bam! x Madnice Marauders x Hot Plate @ Constellations 18/5/16
As important as music is to the cultural fabric of Liverpool, every now and then it has to defer to its big brother: football. Liverpool’s run in the Europa League has decimated Thursday-night gig crowds, so for the final those crafty bleeders at Constellations have decided to join in rather than compete. The venue’s versatility allows us footie heads to be indulged inside, whilst those in the garden enjoy the sweet Latin-flecked sounds of DJs Danny Fitzgerald and legendary festival favourite Ole Smokey.
It wouldn’t be fair to frame a QUANTIC show as merely a coronation or commiseration; main man Will Holland has garnered a glowing reputation for party music with a touch of elegance, whether it’s soundtracked by soul, Afrobeat, jazz or his more recent works with Columbia’s Combo Barbaro. He’s certainly having to work to maintain that reputation tonight. The atmosphere stalls due to unfortunate technical difficulties, scuppering the admirable aim of playing the first note bang on the final whistle. However, once the music starts, this bumper crowd take no time in getting over any disappointment and into the groove.
It’s hard to characterise the group Holland has put together for this tour – the Tropical Elevation ensemble – as a normal band: they’re a trio of talented multi-instrumentalists dancing between a smörgåsbord of instruments. One minute Holland is pogoing while playing the accordion, the next he’s laying a fuzzy blues guitar solo over some gorgeously spacious soul. There are still signs of the band battling the elements; the disparate nature of the instruments make them a sound tech’s nightmare, and the mix isn’t always right – but there’s a genuine enthusiasm for the music, which earns them a bit of patience from the audience, meaning those of us who notice the glitches couldn’t care less. The dancefloor is packed with glistening grins, inspiring those in red to dance away their heartache.
Singer Jimmeta Rose coos deliciously over a loping reggae beat, before really opening her lungs as the song reaches its emotional crescendo. Holland is undoubtedly the band leader, but he makes a rather understated frontman. Whenever Rose appears there’s a marked injection of energy. The instrumentals show off the musical chops of the band, frequently ending in a different musical time zone from which they started, but Rose creates a necessary focal (vocal?) point. The demanded encore features a carnival version of Pushin’ On, prompting the kind of rousing singalong that would put any football ground to shame.