REVIEW – Devizes Arts Festival – Moscow Drug Club – 7th June @ Exchange Night Club, Devizes

Drugs Down In The Bin!

By Andy Fawthrop

 

Well, sort of. Bear with me. In fact this was yet another Devizes Arts Festival offering that turned out to be an absolute cracker of a gig.

Descending into The Corny Bin, or The Exchange Night Club to be precise, I wondered why this particular venue had been chosen for this particular gig. But as soon as I got in there, it was flippin’ obvious. The place had been set out with plenty of tables and chairs, the lights had been set to low and sleazy, and the crowd packed into every last place had created exactly the right ambience. We were in a real nightclub – old school! As Katya, lead singer of the band, remarked immediately she came on stage: ‘wow! This place is for us! This is where we should live!’ Indeed.

drugclub

Moscow Drug Club describe themselves as “transcendent troubadours of gypsy cabaret and swing” and that’s exactly what we got. Material ranged from their own self-penned compositions, a couple from Eartha Kitt, via way of Louis Armstrong, Jacques Brel’s “The Port Of Amsterdam”, Charles Aznavour and Tom Waits. And, was that a nod towards Django Reinhard? Leonard Cohen?
Each number took us a different musical place, a different atmosphere – Berlin cabaret, Hot Club de France, old Tangiers, eastern Europe. But it was always dark, earthy, sweaty, smoky. We were in the 30s, now the 40s, now the 50s. We were listening to blues, to jazz, to gypsy swing rhythms.
It was a heady and intoxicating mixture, delivered with some style. Canadian Katya Gorrie led from the front with some cool, dark, sleazy vocals, ably assisted by her splendid 5-piece band. Stand-out performer for me was Jonny Bruce on trumpet, who belted out some astonishing solos, as well as filling in the rhythm with some spicy interjections. And I cannot remember the last time I actually heard a double bass solo (delivered with aplomb by Andy Crowdy) and where an entire room of drinkers was reduced to awe-inspired silence.

drugclub2

The whole concert was fantastic, delivered with style, humour, great musicianship and plenty of warmly-felt audience engagement. For me this was a superb all-round performance – I gave it 5 out of 5, and my companion (who is notoriously difficult to please) declared it to be the best gig I’d ever taken her to! The crowd absolutely lapped it up, and the fully-deserved encore featured the song that began it all for the band:
“Moscow Drug Club – it’s a secret rendezvous!

Moscow Drug Club – where the Reds play the Blues!”

If you’d like to see and hear more of Moscow Drug Club, head over to their website at http://moscowdrugclub.com/ which includes a list of their future gigs for the rest of the year.

So – well done (yet again) to DAF for booking this wonderfully bonkers band, and bringing them to our town!

Don’t forget there’s plenty more music and other stuff before the Festival finishes on 16th June. If you haven’t done so yet, get yourself a ticket and get along to see something!

 

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