Cosmic BBQ

The Windmill 24/04/10

What better way to spend a warm Saturday evening listening to some live music and eating some free food? That’s exactly what I thought and so headed to the Windmill’s Cosmic BBQ.

It was an evening of live events until about 1am-I could only stay till 9-so, like the tasty BBQ, I sampled the mix of music that was on offer. The garden was full of people chilling out and after a little while the first band Now started playing. It was a simple set, without any amps or microphones and its simplicity suited the atmosphere. Although not totally my cup of tea, it was a good starting point to the evening.

The second artist then took to the stage, well, I should really say he took to thegarden bench, and started playing. Four Quartets is just one man and his guitar, for this set anyway and again a simple set commenced. The only problem was was that his guitar was not properly tuned and he anxiously tweaked and fiddled to sort it out. Eventually he succeeded and it was worth the wait. Rob Sharples has a lovely voice and although pretty timid in his delivery, his lyrics were good too. The full band includes a bassist and if there are any drummers out there, he’s looking!

The artist I listened to after this, Tarik Beshir, was brilliant (the link is to youtube as his myspace doesn’t have his music on it-he’s the one on the right). I’m not sure if he was meant to play a solo set, but there had been some unexpected trouble outside (someone had been shot in the leg and the road was fenced off) so he may have been filling in for the band that couldn’t reach the venue. Whatever the reason for him playing alone, it didn’t matter as he was great. He was playing the set indoors and was surrounded by people sitting down around him attentively.

He plays an Oud (yes, like a geek I did my research!), which is basically like an Egyptian lute. It created a beautiful Arabic sound of music and transported you somewhere totally different. It could be said it transported you back in time, as many of the songs were decades, if not centuries old. One even dated back to an ancient Egyptian and Arabic art form between six and seven hundred years ago. It was just a strange feeling to realise you were listening to the same song people had listened to all that time ago. He sang in a couple of the songs too and overall it was a refreshingly different set.

Then a band called Les Ocelots arrived and collaborated with Tarik and another guy playing beat pad amongst other musical machines. The music they made together was fantastic; it had an electric jazzy sound with dreamy waves and built in pace. Then it was up to Les Ocelots to take to the stage alone. They are a four piece: James on the sax, Jean on the guitar, Steve on Rhodes (a keyboard with lots of buttons and dials) and Max on the drums. Their music is jazzy but with a raucous edge. Jazz is a genre not often associated with new young bands but thanks to the likes of Portico Quartet becoming more mainstream, this will probably not be the case. Les Ocelot’s set was a lot of fun and they all clearly love what their doing and playing. One song Optimistic  sounded just that and contained a fantastic guitar solo and a drum solo that really messed around with the beat. Their song Flies was also impressive and shifted from relaxed to punchy effortlessly. Clearly owing a lot to bebop traditions, they’ve tailored it to the direction they want to go in and given it a modern sound.

My time was up unfortunately, so off I went having enjoyed a veritable feast of music, some bits tastier than others.