Miles Mosley live at Islington Academy

The air was tinged with anticipation at Islington Assembly Hall on Sunday the 19th of November. The venue had a vintage vibe about it, an immensely tall ceiling dangled a planet-sized disco ball and smoke machines left a dense fog upon the stage. A setting that left me imagining musicians performing there in the 20's, my daydream made even more realistic by the blatantly recognisable 'jazz-head's dotted about in the thick crowd, dressed in long black and white fur coats and trilby hats.

Miles Mosley fans whooped and squealed as the background music quietened to silence and Mosley entered the stage wearing the attire to match his celebrity status; a statement beret hat on his head and dark edgy sunglasses on his grinning face. He oozes energy and quickly starts the audience off chanting 'West Coast Get Down' repeatedly. The set kicks off with 'Reap A Soul'. Mosley's voice reminds me of James Brown's masculine tones as he injects an lively yet smooth and soulful melody over a texturally stripped back verse.

Accompanying himself on the double bass like many would a guitar, Mosley adds a whole other element to the track when he picks up the bow for his solo. Suddenly the tune takes on an almost prog-rock persona. Mosley dominates a sliding and whining eight bars on his delay-drenched bass, creating such a powerful sound I can feel it in my gut.

Two of Mosley's traits that make him so likeable are his relatability and legitimacy. He chats to the audience about his, in some cases, fifteen year long relationships with his band members. Then, on a different subject, states the true fact that 'being a human is tough, we're just trying to do something right'. The inclusive pronoun was a relief to hear as it shows that thankfully, despite being part of an acclaimed collective and collaborating with world-known artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Chaka Khan and Lauryn Hill, Mosley's success hasn't gone to his head.

There was a hugely positive atmosphere throughout the entirety of the night, on stage and off. Perhaps in part due to Mosley personifying his bass - referring to it as 'her' added an element of humour to his in-between-songs dialogue, not that he needed it. It also put the obvious love he has for his instrument and music into a visual scene when he spun the upright bass round like he would spin a dancing partner at the climax of a song. It's always beautiful to see someone getting a kick out of doing something they utterly adore.

The finest track for me was most people's favourite, the banger 'Abraham'. It was placed as the final song in the set (excluding the encore) and the audience went mad when pianist Cameron Graves began playing the familiar chord sequence intro. A combination of recognition of the track, mixed with a need to praise Mosley as much as possible to show their appreciation before he was gone. Joy and passion was plastered all over his face while he sung the (as he described to The Fader) 'coming-of-age sermon' to himself, and relief and satisfaction could be heard in his voice as he belted the lyrics that regarded pride and power of identity.

Mosley is a warm-hearted person with an appropriate title of 'The Jimi Hendrix of The Upright Bass'. The respect and appreciation between him and his band members is obvious and pleasing to witness, not to mention the exceptional virtuosity of their playing and the ingeniously engaging jazz/hip-hop/rock-fusion music they create. Miles Davis (whom Mosley was named after) once said; 'don't worry about playing a lot of notes. Just find one good one.' This Miles manages to play lots of good ones.

Hannah Rodríguez

The Write Stuff

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