Molotov Fiesta Ignites The Thekla
With the theme of the evening revolving heavily around a day and night in a sun drenched seventh heaven, the few who readied themselves at the stage lip would be difficult to lose in any bustling location. Each of them sporting numbers from the Hawaiian getaway collection, complete with Caribbean themed sunglasses, flower garlands and head pieces to match, the steady stage below deck of the Thekla boat venue was the final addition to complete this summer masquerade.
A large white board was placed in front of the stage floor speakers, reading only ‘Eugene the Cat’ as the opening act prepared themselves. For those who had not heard the Austrian quintet before, their wash of electronic jazz bop soon bathed the spectators in an inability to stand still as they set off into their set.
The first appearance of Woodwind grew to be exemplary in the eyes of the audience, not only in his saxophone craft but in his ability to entertain as well. Showboating in all different directions, he hopped and bopped about the stage with a playful elegance while hitting note for note.
A technique that was met with eager applause and an envious eye. Mr Scheran proved to also be a noteworthy dancer alongside Carolina’s shoulder-swinging smooth movements as she successfully demonstrated her own singing talent, consistently backed by Torias Paal.
The last two members may have kept to the shadows but were consistently thrust into the limelight as they generated the main body of guitar and drum work that gave the overall body and dramatic bop mannerism to their overall sound. A rewarding moment to watch a musical act perform to a professional degree and also noticeably enjoy their time doing what they do.
The stage remained dark as the headlining act fumbled their way into position but as the rose gold spotlights slowly ignited, the rich and vibrant summer attire of the band were brought to attention. From pastel shades of pale blue to stalking stand-out contrasts of dark red, the room became a sample swatch of colour that seemed to float everyone’s boat.
As entertaining as it was to watch the band cram their nine band members onto the platform, it was nothing compared to how quickly Molotov Jukebox found their footing and, with a lick of the bass, went straight into their first track, “Dancing With The Dead”.
A tropical thunderstorm descended over the Thekla as the stage exploded with their presence and loveable characteristics. Batting between the three brass musicians synchronised two-step dancing, the violinists devotion to the motion or Natalia Tena’s bubbly personality, what was there not to enjoy?
The three brass musicians consisting of Sunil Kamath, Robert Parton and Angus Moncrieff, had a pleasing relationship with one another that blended their schoolyard mischievousness with a brass banquet of blockbuster proportions, accompanied by jazz-packed helpings of saxophone growls from Sam Arben. The bass, drum and guitar however, exercised great expertise in transporting the listener off to some remote island where the alcohol flowed like water and the heated love rivalled the sun.
Their gypsy-influenced Violinist, Sam Apley, adapted jiving gestures throughout the set as he cast feel-good spells over the onlookers with his bow, in a similar fashion to Clean Bandit’s own Milan Neil Amin-Smith but with an added pinch of grittiness.
Natalia Tena’s accordion finesse and delicately sensual, Ella Fitzgerald stylised voice lavishly ran softly over the crowd, twigging every goosebump to rise from their skin as they danced away in the rising heat of the night.
A well-balanced ambience of complete comfort and excitement manifested as they continued through into the foot stomping liveliness of “Can’t Find You” which concluded with the best dressed costume awards given out in the delectable shape of Terry’s chocolate oranges by the idiosyncratic front woman.
As those in the bow lost their minds to the orchestrated lunacy, the middle section of spectators consisted of solid swaying and pacing on the spot, which followed up into the stern where free styling was bred from an intoxicated ecstasy.
The fiesta fire burned blisteringly hot as “Neon Lights” illuminated the grand use of monumental chorus build up, throwing listeners into a leisurely boogie right up until the sun and sea vibe of “Double Dare” began to slowly bleed from the renowned wildlings accordion.
“Gypsy Funeral” perfectly summarized the savage yet respectful nature of an event with such a title, with intense bursts of rapidity introduced into their catalogue, a mid-set fitness session with knees flying high was encouraged as the scent of sweat slowly overwhelmed the buoyant vessel.
Throaty gargles from Mr Moncrieff introduced “Don’t Panic” with its heavy blues opening walking the audience in gently, before the progressive development into the heated burlesque number had the throng in the palm of their hands.
Finishing up on “I Need It” (with a superb rendition of the 007 theme tune as an introduction), the public went ashore from their holiday evening abroad, taking with them hale and hearty measures of validated fatigue and roguish intentions as souvenirs, ready to cause chaos elsewhere.