Led Bib Live At The Vortex 10/04/07

Representatives of the very latest wave of the ever-more-exciting British Jazz scene, Led Bib made an appearance at the Vortex in London last night, promoting the release of their new album Sizewell Tea. Led Bib may not attract the traditional “jazz” audience but the young audience in the Vortex was captive to the strangely catchy style of the group that contrasts freewheeling improvisation with tightly controlled grooves. Led Bib Live At The Vortex 10/04/07
The group is masterminded by ex-pat US drummer Mark Holub, who conducted the group from his drum stool, gesturing wildly to cue the players through what to the untrained ear sounds like chaos. But when a tight unison line emerged from the extraordinary sonic mush that Led Bib produce, the audience response was massive and resounding. The sound of Led Bib is built from the drums up, and while Holub occasionally threatened to overcome the rest of the group with his ferocious drumming (his style could be described as Barry Altschul meets Animal) his overall musicality kept the group in check even as they twisted the sonic landscape with their passion for effects pedals on the keyboards and guitar and overblowing and “out” playing in the twin saxophones of Pete Grogan and Chris Williams.

Yet it is worth noting that while they are capable of the most churning and ear splitting of sounds (the sound of a distorted Fender Rhodes through a wah-wah pedal directly in your left ear is quite an experience) they always seem to hold together a groove that very often had the audience dancing in their seats, and it was watching their own grins as if they couldn’t believe they were managing to keep it together that made them so captivating to watch.

Review: Mark Trounson

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