Live Review: Flamingods @ Picture House Social – 11 Nov 16

The Flamingods live up to their name; ethereally wild and flamboyant in a binaurally satisfying concoction.

They sound like a dream. And not just because they’re good; because their tropical, entrancing melodies and undefinable sounds merge into a hazy other worldly experience which captures you in a way you don’t see coming.

For those of you that don’t know them yet, this is a five piece multi-instrumental band formed in Bahrein back in 2009. Their sound is intensely experimental and draws inspiration from all corners of the planet including Nepal, Indonesia, Japan and Tanzania. After a single chalet jamming session at ATP Festival the band formed and have grown, toured and made hypnotic sounds ever since that fateful day. They perform using instruments gathered from trips across the world which comes as no surprise as their music holds an incredibly diverse and multicultural quality.Flamingods

Flamingods perform at Picture House Social

Flamingods perform at Picture House Social

For the Flamingods, the visuals are as important as the music. Performing on a stage littered with large potted plants, they are dressed as you might expect.

Decked out in their easily recognisable shell adorned outfits, tassel hats, sequins and psychedelic patterns (you’ll be familiar with these if you’ve ever glanced at their press shots) all in view of aligning themselves with their flamboyant sound consisting of drums, vocals, keyboard, guitar, maracas and a tambourine. Exotic exotic belly dancers* weave around the stage like enchanted, snake charmers hypnotising the audience whilst the band gather a storm of musical momentum with loud and continuous tribal vibrations.

Some way into the gig it becomes impossible to determine whether the sounds being emitted from the stage are tongue rolling, high pitched jungle cries coming from band members themselves or a keyboard hitting the high notes.

Belly dancing and Bollywood moves from the sensational Voodoo Trippers

Belly dancing and Bollywood moves from the sensational *Voodoo Trippers

With some seriously make shift on stage mood lighting (speaker-mounted desk lamps and lampshades scattered across the stage) it’s clear the band will do everything in their power to give the performance it’s maximum aura-potential. And it works.

Because of the intensely experimental, other worldy quality to the music, it takes a couple of songs for the trance state to take hold. The room starts to feel like a psychedelic, Ayahuasca inclined journey of discovery into the jungle, with a shaman at your side and a serious Mighty Boosh surrealist quality to the whole experience. The thumping beat doesn’t stop and you begin to forget when it even started.


Flamingods perform on stage with potted plants

The band keeps everyone on their toes, even going so far as to transcend their instruments by switching seats and mics one song into the set. The tribal, Arabic infused rainforest beats continue steady, discarding the conventional pace of verse and chorus song layout and instead opting for slow, steady climatic beat that layers itself before reaching it’s chorus after ten minutes of building pace. And when they get there they really get there.

When the moment comes they’re ready to go full throttle in the name of psychedelic rock (complete with extended head thrashing to crashing drums). Everything about their sound is designed to be as intense as possible.

The Flamingods give a reinterpretation to the meaning of “jungle” music. A world’s throw away from the electronic, breakbeat, drum ‘n’ bass fuelled rhythms that instantly springs to mind, their reverberation is just as frenzied but with a dizzying tropicality that takes you right to the center of the Amazon. Rainforest sounds and all.

A circus standard spectacle brings the gig to its finale in the most hysterical way possible. The lead singer (Kamal) runs into the crowd, clearing a space whilst spinning tassel helicopters with his fez hat. He turns to the stage and falls to his knees in feverish worship to his band’s own sound.

Flamingods perform on stage with potted plants, guitars and desk lamps

Flamingods perform on stage with potted plants, guitars and desk lamps

The venue (former Ballroom to Abbeydale Picture House) at Picture House Social functioned well but it would be interesting to watch this band on a bigger stage to see what they could really do with their performance. With the right lighting and props paired with their oozing creativity there’s no doubting the the Flamingods could put on the most epic of shows. That said, the makeshift lighting, intimate venue and sincerity of the performance definitely delivered a humble charm and authentic feel to the gig.

Onstage, this five piece are a hypnotic, other worldly species who provide fluid chaos to any ears that turn their way. You get the feeling the band go somewhere different every time they perform their music. It’s intensity to a whole new level.

The Flamingods belong in the jungle and credit to the band for doing their very best to bring the jungle to Sheffield! Potted plants and all.

Try it, you might like it.

Check out tour dates for upcoming shows >>