Blastarama: Round 2
A re-found fan of jazz, funk, soul and the like, I was tremendously excited for the return of Blastarama, an event put on in the Guild by students Andy Matheson and Andy Weaver. So, when the vividly multi-coloured posters once again began popping up at bus stops, telling the world to get ready to ‘Shake Your Brass’, the date was in my diary almost as quickly as my reaction to someone shouting about free pizza. The Blastarama launch party was funktastic, and so my anticipation for February’s instalment was sky-high.
Last time around, Liverpool Guild of Students’ Stanley Theatre housed the brass-tastic night, but this time, Blastarama had found a new home. Newly opened, I hadn’t been in ‘The Cellar’ before, and following a queue of bustling Blasta-goers down to the deep dark depths underneath the Guild did feel slightly ominous. And once we were down there, this venue gave the whole gig an entirely different feel. If the launch party was bright and buzzing, The Cellar made this instalment of Blastarama darker, grittier and a whole lot hotter. Find somebody who wasn’t sweating by halfway through. But despite a lack of air, the venue made the evening extremely atmospheric and especially intimate.
After a little bit of bustling around, fetching drinks from the bar and finding our friends, everyone was gathered around the stage in anticipation. The night was kicked off by the Liverpool University Big Band. Sax-heavy and the best kind of loud, Big Band did what they do best – got the party started. With a mix of instrumental jazz and a handful of tracks featuring talented guest vocalists, Liverpool University Big Band gave a convincing performance, and certainly attracted a rowdy crowd.
Taking on the middle slot were Manchester-based band, the Hot Botz Brass Band. The only Blastarama debutants of the evening exhibited a distinctive sound that took the audience further into the grittier realms of funk. Though I wasn’t sure what to expect, what we experienced was an amalgamation of high energy dance music that made for an exciting debut by the band. It was an energised set we all needed injected into our Thursday evening.
Rounding off the night’s line-up of enviable talent was dynamic Uni of Liverpool eight-piece, Funk Soul Continuum. My awe of these guys is no secret – Since the Blastarama launch party I’ll sing their praises to pretty much anyone that’ll listen. And that last event just solidified to my flatmates what the fuss was about. With a set that ran from Earth Wind & Fire through to Mark Ronson’s smash hit, ‘Uptown Funk’, Funk Soul Continuum were the right note to end on, highlighting the very essence of Blastarama – jazzy upbeat virtuosity.
As an event, Blastarama is just what the University of Liverpool needs every once in a while, and I hope it continues in all its funktastic glory.