Skootananny presents:Maroontown, Mordekkers and DJ Geezer

Hootananny, 9/4/10

In the chilled out welcoming atmosphere of Hootananny the first band was Mordekkers. Hootannany’s flyer had described them as ‘ska, drum ‘n’ bass on medieval horns’…this, I had to see.

Three guys-one on drums, one on bass and one on accordion, joined a lady that started off playing an oboe. Their sound was extraordinary and I can safely say I haven’t heard anything like it. This is a compliment as their music is fun, lively but most of all curious. The second song demanded an instrument switch and the leading lady swapped her oboe for a bagpipe. With the strong beat behind it and an uplifting melody, it truly sounded like something you’d expect to hear if Henry VIII decided to have a night of ska and reggae in his court.

After the third song, which included an electric lute (of course), there was a problem and some strings needed fixing. The master-of-the-bagpipes Peni took this time to explain that the Mordekkers are in fact from Wales and that all their songs are based on Celtic folk tunes. Then, the strings still not quite fixed yet, Jez the drummer took to the mic and gave us something totally different. Clearly with an eclectic taste in styles he performed a rap without any backing, all about the state of Britain, with lines like ‘I’m not a lefty, I’m not a righty, I am me, I am free, I am mighty’. He was good and gave us way more than just a time-filler.

Right, strings fixed and back to Henry VIII’s reggae/ska-rave up. They performed their last song and after an encore, the Mordekkers took a bow, leaving a new crowd of fans clapping as they left.

The headliners of the night Maroon Town then stepped up, all nine of them! This is one big band with a huge selection of instruments: a saxophone, a trumpet, three keyboards, two vocalists, drums and a beat pad. Their music is fun, powerful and full of life and their songs make it impossible for you not to dance. They involved the crowd at any opportunity, for example Ya Ya got us all singing just that back at them and Cumbia Infernal got us jumping in a sweaty mass. But this wasn’t just jumping, it was a jumping competition between the left side and the right!

Their music is a combination styles from ska to rap and reggae and it really works. They are a close-knit band that has obviously been together a long time, making music they enjoy. This in turn made it all the more enjoyable for the audience. They finished their set off with the classic 54-46 That’s My Number by Toots and the Maytels. Maroon Town have toured all over the world from Japan to Brunei but the band began from good old Brixton. It’s good to know Brixtonite musicians never forget their roots.

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