“Hello Brixton!” Lord knows how many times South London music lovers have heard that. How often though is it followed by “This is nuts. Are we really playing here? I saw The Clash here. They were crap!”, before cranking up the opening to a hippy-trip anthem and putting The Academy in a trance? And that, Ladies and Gentlemen is Lemon Jelly live for you – trippy dance music at the stylish end of cheese with in-between tune banter straight from Butlins. Mid-set, I half expected Fred Deakin to collect a fiver off me for a ride on a Wurlitzer before spinning me round with a “Hold on tight, it’s Dynamite!”
And this is all rather odd. You listen to Lemon Jelly to take you away and to somewhere really nice in the back of your psyche at that, so perhaps you’re entitled to want a bit more of an ethereal experience when Deakin and Nick Franglen engage in a bit of chit-chat. But then they’ve never been cool or given a toss about it – they’re just a couple of mates playing their tunes and getting off on it. It works.
What didn’t was the opening. Come Down On Me is about as un-Lemon Jelly a moment as they’ve recorded and this poor Prodigy pastiche was left horribly exposed with weak visual effects and a weaker vocal from Deakin. It needs to be ditched and especially as an opener. But soon usual service was resumed. A mind-bending array of samples seemingly filled every moment. There was soul, crunchy rock, retro-dance, experimental beats and spaced out glee all luzzed into the Jelly-pot to produce a consistent vibe from eclectic sources. Highlights of the night came from the obvious (the set-closing Staunton Lick, the sing-a-long of Nice Weather For Ducks), but for a combination of everything that was good about this gig, a fuel-injected Rambling Man stole the show with all of the kaleidoscopic lighting and captivating visuals most at one with the celestial musical experience.