Basement Jaxx review – the live peak of their career

Academy, Newcastle A trumpet player dressed as a crow, bellydancers and an array of banging tunes weighed in to the feeling that the 20-year veterans are newly revitalised

Anyone planning to throw a massive party might have a fantasy checklist of essentials ranging from enormous banging house tunes to an array of singers wearing everything from silver stars to gorilla costumes. There might be a trumpet player dressed as a crow or drumsticks that glow red in the dark. However, it might be easier to just get in Basement Jaxx, whose latest live extravaganza includes all this, providing the sort of colourful, uplifting experience normally only glimpsed on footage from the golden age of disco.

After 20 years in the Basement, a break seems to have revitalised the band, whose hits such as Romeo and Rendez-Vu steamrollered the charts in the late 1990s and 2000s. As Never Say Never, from seventh album Junto, is nominated for a Grammy, their percussion-clattering funk monster keeps an audience of young and old fans partying all night.

There are car horns, dazzling lights and belly- and ballet dancers. However, the visual feast never detracts from the eclectic music, which rollercoasts from house to disco to global beats on a wave of pop euphoria. Power 2 The People upliftingly argues for social democracy, while a lineup including performers from around the world implicitly rejects rightwing thinking on immigration. Mostly, though, this is just a celebration of the unifying power of music.

Main singers Vula Malinga and Sharlene Hector shake their booties to a riotous Bingo Bango, while Mermaid of Salanas has an uproarious calypso feel. With the hat- and arm-waving audience resembling a scene from last night at the Proms, Felix Buxton switches from keyboards to vocals for a triumphant Where’s Your Head At?, by which time they have surely proved that this is the live peak of their career.

At Cambridge Corn Exchange, on 8 December. Box office: 01223 357851. Then touring.


Powered by article was written by Dave Simpson, for The Guardian on Sunday 7th December 2014 15.51 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010