Mansion of Snakes are up first; an 12 piece extravaganza born in Leeds to a deep love of jazz and afrobeat. They melt these influences to produce a unique, devil-funk inspired cosmic jazz that far exceeds their disclaimer: “our shows tend to get a bit sweaty”.
The opening track, On a Scale of One to Zen utilises funky bass guitars and bouncing brass to pay homage to Fela Kuti rhythms and fuel the audience into a booty shaking extravaganza, plus a handful of half hearted attempts at salsa dancing (guilty). Kevlar twists and bounces to an underbelly of emblazoned trumpets and races through Shira into 40 Miles Per Wolf Hour that challenges everyone to some serious double speed dancing. The mighty K.O.G. join towards the end of the set for an impressive duo performance of blended afro-rap.
Mansion of Snakes put on a fantastic show of funk frenzied, rippling tropical beats that flow from the stage straight into the crowd, most of whom are sweating so much they may as well have been at an aerobics class for the last hour. The problem is, MOS really give you no choice but to snake and wind to their tantalising rhythms from the first beat right until the last.
By the time Tantz come on, they are at somewhat of a disadvantage since the crowd have already destroyed themselves by the means of dance. Nevertheless, the mystical and arguably sultry sounds of Klezmer blended Balkan beats offer an all round bohemian experience that shares jazz influences with their stage predecessors. You can see why this skilled gypsy six piece are regulars at Balkanarama. They fuse bold clarinet solos, ska-punk chopped guitar, feverish fiddling and punchy percussion into an ecstasy of traditional Balkan rhythms that have their crowd frantically bouncing along.