The Correspondents @ London Jazz Café 12/03/14

Put anyone named DJ Chucks and Mr Bruce on the bill in Camden and you know you’re on for a bonkers, bizarre and bloomin’ brilliant night. Rocking up to cool little Camden in my drab, Wednesday-at-the-office outfit, I couldn’t have looked less like I was about to launch into my best skanking moves.

On glides Mr Bruce, hair slicked back, horn-rimmed spherical glasses framing his narrow features, and a relatively inoffensive black jacket covering a jazzy, soon-to-be-revealed black and white onesie.

We are treated to new material from the offset, with an uncharacteristically slow number luring us into the show. A mere 30 seconds later though, and our showman is prancing across the stage in true Correspondents form, arms and legs flinging through the air like Bambi on ice.

The guy radiates energy, his spectacular dance moves – or rather prance moves – a rigorous workout for most, and yet his vocals never so much as waver. He is note perfect as he zips through a number of tracks from the new album, including “Fear and Delight” and title track “Puppet on a String.”

Old-time favourite “What’s Happened to Soho?” goes down a storm, at which point the crowd really perks up. And that’s when the Correspondents decide to turn it up another notch. DJ Chucks switches the bass to full, and Mr Bruce informs us that “Camden, it’s time to go harder”.

The duo switch to their heaviest drum n bass, working the crowd into an x-stepping, strobe-dizzy frenzy. Our showman jumps and rolls across the stage, and culminates this bassy midsection with an enormous stage dive into the outstretched arms of the geed up audience.

When we reach the show’s climax, the duo exit the stage following a shout out to mum and dad, who are watching from the balcony above, but the pair aren’t ones for conventional rituals and return seconds later stating they’d “never understood the point of that, of course we’re coming back on!”.

At this point I could have sworn Mr Bruce told us that they would be finishing up with “a bit of a jungle”, which to my mind hinted at the duo’s famous “Jungle Book” mash up. Yet the closer is in fact a short, swinging melody, which seems a slight anti-climax that doesn’t quite succeed in closing the show with the bang it deserves (“I Wanna Be Like You,” on the other hand, would have wrapped things up just perfectly, thank you).

Ultimately, though, the Correspondents sure know how to perform. Their records take on a whole new level on the stage, and Mr Bruce is the frontman that every band needs. Even if you’re no big Correspondents fan, this is a spectacle that simply cannot be missed.
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