Saturday, 11 April 2009

Gig Review - 'The Baron and the General' - Macbeth, Hoxton, 09.04.09

Whilst ‘The Baron and the General’ is a name that conjures up images of a bygone British Empire, stiff upper lips and sepia-tinged nostalgia, the sound that this pioneering London quartet produces is far from antiquated.

Appearing at Hoxton’s Macbeth pub, a live music venue that I’ve frequented a few times on previous occasions (and one that is rapidly gaining more and more kudos on the live circuit), The Baron and the General are the first new band to genuinely blow me away in a long time.

Whilst they may initially appear as a standard four-piece, it soon becomes apparent that, donned in Victorian military apparel, they offer music lovers and gig-goers something completely new. Whilst most unsigned London acts are content to strum a guitar and squeal a few songs as if they’ve been pressed out of a ‘my first indie-band’ mould, The Baron and the General launch into an incredible set that offers something genuinely different straight from the off.

But how to sum up this glorious sound? Imagine if you please, that Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Jack the Ripper and Charles Darwin all met one night in a Limehouse opium den, were handed instruments and told to produce a psychedelic garage / zouk act under the influence of the most creative substances known to man. If this fantastical band actually performed in front of a packed East End pub in the 1890s, perhaps you’d be a third of the way to the incredible and individual sound that is The Baron and the General.

Thrilling the heaving masses inside the Macbeth, the band proceeded to play well-known songs such as ‘The Despair of Leena Estee, Memoirs of Bilbalily and evident crowd-pleaser, ‘A Ragtime Odyssey’, switching effortlessly from twisted hallucinogenic rock to psycadelic ska blues as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

The Baron and the General are quite clearly, one of the most unique, talented and enjoyable live music acts of recent years and one that is thoroughly deserving of much bigger and better things. Watch out you scrupulous masses of music maestros – you heard of them here first…

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