Review: Snarky Puppy + Becca Stevens @ Brixton Academy (London, 5th May 2017)


Snarky Puppy is a sonically charged revolution of intelligent, jazz-inspired funk-infused with a dizzying mix of rip-roaring bombastic rock, easing into edgy, new era classical, melancholic electronic (and perfectly blended) world music; a freshly invented and entirely new genre.

Lead by bassist, composer and producer Michael League, the 3* time Grammy award winning Texas bred/New York based collective unleashed it all on a moodily flash lit jam-packed Brixton Academy.

Kicking off with a melancholy mix of melodic graduation, with synth-slips, and cool trumpet smiles, leading into big brass sets. They evolved into crisp funk, a crescendo ensemble of orchestral crashing improvisation that’s ingeniously crafted. Guitars Strum electronica, against a beat laden soul of world drums in piqued attitude; sharp and perfectly punctuated into a cacophony of tenor sax solos; morphing fresh, slick, gentle chimes of classically inspired dark keyboard symphonies. Golden era rock to big band brass ballad. Contemporary jazz underlining everything into hip hop, and times are a changin’ synth.

Snarky Puppy dramatically fuse classic into contemporary, and re-invent something of a mixed pace; they morph effortlessly into Latino twisted siren symphonies. Keeping pace into up-tempo drum serenades, and rhumba shimmering into Parisian jazz. Screaming sax, corkscrewing melodies, all peppered with a sombreness throughout.

Our ears and minds are never bored when bearing witness to all the energy you might expect from a 25 piece band, they performed material from their new album Culcha Vulcha. Fresh off the heels of their 10th LP, Family Dinner – Volume Two, with this new record the band returned to its roots as a moody, mellow and explosive instrumental ensemble. After a decade of relentless touring and recording in all but complete obscurity, in the past four years; Snarky Puppy have audaciously refined their genius. Their live performance is highly recommended.

The night also featured a set from special guest Becca Stevens, promoting her new album Regina released on GroundUP Music. Stevens’ style evades categorization, emitting sounds influenced by pop, rock, R&B and funk side-by-side with traditional Appalachian and British folk, classical, world music, and jazz. Giving a wonderful blend of haunting melodic vocals, contemporary ukulele and world beats.

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