In the face of endlessly rising living costs and mouldy cupboards being advertised as ‘luxury accommodation’ Londoner’s are packing up the handful of possessions they had been able to afford with their meagre disposable income and branching out to places they previously only spent the weekend in.
We know this because we did the same and, much like a high percentage of the other up-rooted Londoners, we ended up in Hastings, a town that has a secretly booming music scene and a surprisingly dedicated group of music enthusiasts.
Whilst the music world at large might not have cottoned on to that yet there is one band that knows all about the hidden music gem by the sea. The Urban Voodoo Machine.
As accordionist Slim takes to the stage he peers into the crowd and begins to count. “I’m just counting how many people have moved here from London” he exclaims “there’s always at least one more every time I’m here.”
It must be a troubling concept to a band that aren’t just based in London but practically ARE London. A valued pillar of the music community in the capital, the ‘Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop ‘N’ Stroll’ troop are responsible for the ‘Gypsy Hotel’ cabaret nights that started there in 2006.
They’re influenced by blues, punkabilly and mariachi (are you still with me?) and have a back story that includes eating parents, the Norwegien army and a cabaret night which you should definitely look into.
Despite the tragedy of losing two band members over current years, The Urban Voodoo Machine are still fighting and tonight they claimed Dingwalls and in the process succeeded in making everybody else look completely fucking boring.
Since TUVM is a collective of creative minds, it’s hard to know which set of musicians you’ll get at any given show or even how many people armed with extravagant instruments and costuming will be squeezed onto the stage.
One thing you can count on is that the troop’s fearless chief, Paul-Ronney Angel, will be forcefully leading both band and audience through an aggressive assault on the senses.
Tonight he is joined on stage by some of the regular characters but also a handful of new-to-us rag-tag members who blend in seamlessly. In total a whole octet was pressed into the Blackmarket’s stage, but then these guys might not have enough room in a stadium.
That’s not where the novelty of tonight’s show ends either. For whatever reason there’s a stark absence of a support band, meaning that tonight will see The Urban Voodoo Machine effectively opening for themselves.
Whilst two Urban Voodoo Machine sets is the stuff that dreams are made of it does mean that tonight’s show starts somewhat unceremoniously leading Angel to lay down the law with the crowd very early on.
Why anybody would come to an Urban Voodoo Machine show to chat to their mates is beyond us but people do, and those people are quickly reprimanded by the no-bullshit front man. Tonight he not-politely suggested they all pissed off to the bar.
Once they had done just that, those who made the right decision danced through the night down the front chopping from belligerent thrashing to sensual salsa through Not With You, Always Out and later Love Song 666.
For nearly three hours The Urban Voodoo Machine did what they do best. They were hysterical, they were shocking, they were terrifying, they were exciting and they were a kind of fun that cannot be compared to any other show in the world.
And honestly, this wasn’t even The Urban Voodoo Machine at their best.
So if London ever loses its appeal for this undefinable masterpiece of a band, they’ll always have a home in Hastings where we would love to welcome them to the ever growing crowd of regulars.
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