GIG REVIEW: Melt Yourself Down at The Loft, Southampton

By Carron Stacey, A Humdrum Mum

A last minute impulse buy and when the tickets arrived, we were numbers 30 and 31. Oh no, what if not many people turned up? No fear of that. Thanks in part to being heavily played on BBC 6Music of recent, it was packed. 

  • Read on for reasons including how singer Kushal Gaya spent time hugging everyone

You know it’s going to be a good night when the DJ support throws you Mr Scruff, early Prince (Controversy), Groovejet and The Orielles’ version of Peggy Gou’s It Makes You Forget (Itgehane). The crowd were ready.

It seemed that the stage was somewhat cramped for Melt Yourself Down, so huge were the onstage antics of the group, which comprised drummer, percussionist, bassist, singer and two (yes two) saxophonists. Led by Pete Wareham (who reminded me of Berlin in Money Heist), the afrobeat/punk/jazz ensemble consists of (amongst others) members of jazz/punk Acoustic Ladyland  members and Transglobal Underground. 

I don’t often say this but I did say I really don’t know how to describe them. I also said that was the best gig I’ve been to – I’m sure I always say this, but seriously, they are a sight to see and hear. I can’t say they are loud, as my tinnitusy ears aren’t ringing too badly, despite being at the front. They are slick in the way that jazz is. I have never seen the bass (Ruth Goller) played in such an industrial, concrete, grungy way. Hooky? Kim Gordon? JJ Brunel? I was fascinated by her “using the bass” juxtaposed with the triangle being played on the other side of the stage. Two drum kits always gets me – (hi) hats off to drummer Tom Skinner and percussionist Satin Singh. Noteworthy is the lack of rhythm guitar.

The singer (Kushal Gaya) spent a huge part of the gig singing from the audience and hugging everyone. It was a very loving gig with an extremely loving audience. 

“You can be who you want to be / Every day, not black enough, not woke enough, don’t smile enough / I say we are enough / Keeping hold of my time, Tired of fakin′ my ride now, gotta break away”

The lyrics of their almost anthemic songs  to me address both issues important to the band and that you can achieve what you want if you persevere…”Sometimes you need to kill your life to come alive, sometimes you need to change it up to move it on…” (It Is What It Is). 

My review seriously does not do them justice. If you want the edginess and uplift from a Dub Pistols gig, this is it. If you want the musicality and political feel of Asian Dub  Foundation, this is it. If you want the slickness of James Taylor Quartet, this is it. If you want the jazz of Ezra Collective, this is it. If you want the madness of Dubioza Kolektiv, this is most certainly it. But it is gestalt in itself – more than the sum of all of those individual parts (groups).

On social media, their audience members have remarked on the energy from their gigs. You just can’t stop dancing. Such was my activity that night that my watch recorded a two hour run!

The woodwind section really are the stars of the show, with their steampunk saxes. You could watch and listen – and dance – to them all night. It most certainly is a show you will stay with you for some time.

  • Read more from Carron at her blog A Humdrum Mum
  • Main picture courtesy Melt Yourself Down via Facebook. Tickets In article picture by by Carron Stacey. Have you heard any of these songs or seen any of these shows? Let us know what you thought in the comments below
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow monstagigz on Twitter @NeilDurham, email neildurham3@gmail.com and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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