3rd July | The Lanes
Isn’t it a delight to be living in Bristol when the music scene flourishes, with musicians brave enough to jump on stage and improvise their way through grooves of psychedelic jazz and whatever else seems to come their way? Tusk Collective, consisting of Snazzback members Chris Langton on drums and Alfie Grieve on trumpet, Waldo’s Gift’s Harry Stoneham on bass and Sound of Harlowe’s Alun Elliott-Williams on guitar and vocalist Solomon OB, these “curators of future music” are most certainly pushing against the limits of bog-standard musical genres.
Stoneham and Langton were stage left, intertwined with one another in a translucent cocoon, smashing, rumbling and chugging at their instruments to create intricate heavy beats. The rest of the band floated through melodies, solos and embellishments. OB, in his usual endearing stage manner, listened attentively to the newly-evolving sounds to our ears and his. His ability to reflect, adjust and perform using his body as an instrument, with lyrics causing just as much reflection in his audience, was enlightening and heartfelt. Like a skylark, he rose with his song, much like Grieve and Elliott-WIlliams when their solos came along.
Having been a fan of 30/70 for some years now and seeing them at their first UK show last year The Jazz Café in London, I jumped at the chance to see them in my hometown, knowing their spirit would connect here. The band’s set-up isn’t particularly unusual: drums (Ziggy Zeitgeist), keys (Jarrod Chase), guitar (Thomas Mansfield), bass (Henry Hicks), lead vocals (Allysha Joy) and saxophone (Josh Kelly), but the marriage of the instruments and experimentation of sounds is what sets them above their soul rivals.
As the band says, “True soul music knows no bounds. It is a single point in space with infinite potential.” At first listen you may wish to label them as a heavy neo-soul band, but with a little more focus, you’ll get to hear the wonders of music’s elements taking shape. You’ll hear the organic sounds of cowbells, shakers and bells rhythmically respected by Joy as she sings her fresh, raw melodies, the rhythm section taking inspiration from latin and reggae, and the wild ferocity of saxophone unleashed through Kelly’s playing. A band in sync with each other as much as their surroundings, they are world whisperers, claiming a worthy spot in the industry and utilising the limelight to protest and spread their messages.
With lyrics like, “For those unaware of the history,/ Think not that the land lands in the hands of we,” and Joy’s revelation to finally be able to buy new shoes as they broke on stage, championing conscious buyers, they glimpse at worldly issues whilst ensuring respect for the gig and understanding what their audience is there for. I’m not sure there’s a band who can get me as inspired and as optimistic as 30/70.
See the video for ‘Misrepresented’ here: