Acoustic Ladyland, Fulborn Teversham, Luke Barlow Band - Luminaire, 22 Nov - London Jazz Festival

Luke Barlow’s quartet, led from the keyboard, play something like a cross between Django Bates and Frank Zappa: manic, tight compositions, sudden rhythmic shifts and shredder guitar solos.  They lack the finesse of either Zappa or Bates, but they pack a good punch, and keep the listener on their toes.  It was bit much for some: I had to put up with the Thought Police standing behind me all the way through, telling his friends why it was wrong to enjoy this sort of thing (they did, from what I could tell); Acoustic Ladyland are obviously not attracting a conventional jazz audience. Acoustic Ladyland, Fulborn Teversham, Luke Barlow Band - Luminaire, 22 Nov - London Jazz Festival
Fulborn Teversham is drummer Seb Rochford’s band, with Pete Wareham on sax.  Acoustic Ladyland is Pete Wareham’s band, with Seb Rochford on drums.  Together they make up the military wing of the eclectic F-IRE Collective.  Teversham, with fellow F-IREman Nick Ramm playing an old analogue synthesiser and Alice Grant on vocals, have an indie-pop vibe.  Their songs have a surprisingly sweet allure at times, which disarms the expressionist wailings of Wareham’s sax, creating music that’s full and clear, exciting and accessible.  Rochford is the genius at the heart of both bands, a drummer whose mastery of all that he creates seems almost spiritual.

Acoustic Ladyland are simply incredible: sweaty (Wareham sweats a lot), fearsome punk, with a saxophone lead ripped from surf-music and honking early R’n’B.  As I write this, days after the event, superlatives continue to fail me.

It may not really be jazz.  I suppose it’s improvised rock, but there’s nothing wrong with that.  I’m too young to have seen Jimi Hendrix play in this lifetime, and I’m too poor to see Led ZeppelinAcoustic Ladyland are as close as I have come to hearing genius blazing uninhibited at full volume – pounding and screeching and baying for blood.

David Walter Hall

Acoustic Ladyland/Fulborn Teversham/Luke Barlow Band, Luminaire Thursday 22 November 2007 – London Jazz Festival

Packing venues throughout the country, heavyweight jazz punks Acoustic Ladyland made yet another sold out performance at this years London Jazz Festival as part of a triple bill featuring support from the Luke Barlow Band and Fulborn Teversham.

Luke Barlow Band opened the show in blistering fashion. Convulsant rhapsodies reminiscent of early Naked City were unleashed with skill and uncompromising energy. Barlow’s genre-defying compositions are jam packed full of surprises as themes grow, disappear and then somehow re-emerge leaving you in constant anticipation of where things will go next.

After some light-hearted banter with an excitable audience member about hairstyles (no guess as to whose), Fulborn Teversham’s unassuming vocalist Alice Grant soon cast her gentle spell over the packed venue. Their simple melodies seduce you into a blissful hypnosis before tearing your face off and screaming into your bleeding ear. The band admirably set the scene for the headliners.

Needing no introduction, Acoustic Ladyland took to the stage to rapturous delight.  Playing a mixture of old and new material they fused elements of ska, synth-pop, punk and thrash metal with devious dexterity. See-sawing bass pedals reinforced with warped synth lines and Seb Rochford’s thunderous drumming laid the bedrock over which front man Pete Wareham traded between shout vocals and screaming saxophone in a manner that defied normal human breathing function. Their tunes where short, sharp and brimming with vigour, the hard-hitting anthems “Promises Promises” and “The Rise” real highlights.

Whether anything the London Jazz Festival has to offer can match the energy that these three bands achieved is yet to be seen. One thing, however, remains certain. If you do want to catch any one of these bands, and I strongly suggest that you do, be sure you book yourself a ticket in advance.

Michael Caratti

Acoustic Ladyland, Fulborn Teversham and Luke Barlow Band - Luminaire, Thursday, 22, Nov - London Jazz Festival

Setting the tone of the evening, the Luke Barlow Band warmed up the Luminaire crowd with their jaunty, post-modern cacophony.  Recently playing an explosive set at the Vortex with his other band, Gannets, clarinetist Alex Ward is a busy guy.  Also playing guitar in this project he dueled with pianist Barlow, in some challengingly dense counterpoint improvisation.  The freer periods of the set were, however, playful and melodious enough to keep the overall sound accessible and fun.
For leading the way and helping to re-invigorate the entire Brit-jazz scene nationwide, the evening could only belong to Seb Rochford and Pete Wareham.  In their first incarnation of the evening they took to the stage as recipients of a rapturous applause from a crowd eager with anticipation.  Fullborn Taversham was able to straddle many genres; they could be called an indie band, although at times there was a fierce puck element in what they were doing; they also used jazz rooted improvisation whist still managing to lace their compositions with melodious pop throughout.  During tunes such as ‘Off Song’ talented vocalist Alice Grant almost spat her lyrics out; full of attitude, this leading lady was irresistible to watch.
By the time that Acoustic Ladyland took to the stage there was a dense cloud of excitement hovering over the sold out club crowd.  As ever, Pete Wareham owned the stage, dominating the spotlight throughout.  The band played fast and with some serious energy, managing to squeeze a huge number of songs into the set.  Blending a punk rock style attitude with the virtuosity of jazz (throwing in a little bit of Slayeresque tub thumping for good measure), Acoustic Ladyland were able to work the crowd up into a frenzy.  From the first beat till the last this band was a whirlwind of excitement, and before the gig was over, a large section of the audience was involved in a mosh pit that most decent metal bands would be proud of.  Any attendee who had expecting a serene London Jazz Festival gig was badly mistaken.

Chris Ackerley