Cykada & Danalogue // Live Review & Photoset

13th December | Loco Klub

Photos: Luke Macpherson

Over the years, The Loco Klub has hosted some of the most left-field and forward-thinking shows in Bristol. It has seen every possible event you could dream up. Think big: fire dancers, semi-naked ventriloquists, sword swallowers and theatrical productions. No wonder, then that it provided the backdrop for the grand designs of the Bristol-based promoters behind Glastonbury’s ‘The Wormhole’, Worm Disco Club.

Breaking the mould with their dynamic choices in shows, it makes perfect sense to bring up-and-coming jazz band, Cykada and The Comet is Coming frontman, Danalogue into the mix. Opening an ambitious double headline show, Cykada are an intriguing prospect.

Upon setting up you see a myriad of different instruments, notably an electric guitar, trumpet, saxophone, drums and an Apple Mac. If you didn’t know them before, the sound check offers an unfiltered snapshot of what to expect from the rising London jazz collective. There is no clear frontman; four of the six members take centre stage. They transcend the traditional format of a group. It is very much a collaborative effort.

One clear stand-out is their very own anti-establishment anthem, ‘So Divided’. Introducing it, they talked about the big ideas behind it, stating, “It is so important to help your community and stay creative and imaginative, to not let politicians influence the way we think.” They then won the award for phrase of the night where they proclaimed, “Chocolate binds us!”. An astounded fan then muttered, “We should use that.”

It was as punk as jazz will ever get, shouting lyrics about how easily we are controlled by the government, combined with an outrageous fusion of crashing cymbals, tumultuous riffs and a generous glug of saxophone. Cykada broke the rules of jazz in the best possible way, breathing new life into an already-lively genre.

Redefining the live experience later in the evening was Danalogue, with an energetic tribute to Charanjit Singh. The Bollywood musician made history with his 1982 album, Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat, where he invented acid house before the genre hit the western world.

As the second headliner, he proved a hit, moving a large chunk of the crowd into the main room. The arrival of the iconic record came with an epic intro, with an ominous ‘Raga Bairagi’ leading the way. The term raga is used in Indian classical music; it is a pattern of notes that are experimented with to create diverse results.

‘Raga Bhairav’ is considered the most well-known cut from this ancient treasure trove of ragas. You won’t find it on any streaming services, but live in action, the ethereal appeal is clear. The squelchy synths and entrancing atmospherics sound a touch fresher than the Roland TB-303 it was recorded on, a bass simulator that was later discontinued. But Danalogue stayed true to the unique sound.

It was recorded almost 40 years ago, but you’d be hard pressed to find such intricate arrangements in modern house music today. Acid house was a term coined in 1985 in Chicago by a DJ trio named Phuture. Yet this unpredictable and exciting collection of tracks from Singh was ahead of its time.

Through an evening of cosmic jazz, obscure disco and Indian acid house – Worm Disco Club can add another jewel to its technicolour crown. Championing the more surreal elements of entertainment is what they are about, and Cykada and Danalogue raised the bar with uncompromising and bold performances.

Listen to ‘Dimension Stepper’ by Cykada here: