It’s not every day that you get to see an afrobeat band on your doorstep, which is why The Sea Slugs are a complete breath of fresh air. They certainly stand out from the crowd. For a start there are absolutely millions of them, and they seem to just keep on getting bigger. The line up contains no less than 15 members, playing all manner of instruments ranging from tenor sax to the congas. You could say that there is something for everyone – but I have personally always been a fan of the congas.
The Sea Slugs began back in January 2013 and since then have gone on to play a string of local gigs, resulting in them ending the year by recording their debut album What’s Not Reflected (release date is yet to be confirmed). For those of you unfamiliar with The Sea Slugs and their sound, they are heavily influenced by the pioneer and creator of afrobeat, Fela Kuti.
There was a palpable sense of excitement before The Sea Slugs began their set. Band members were dotted across the room, simultaneously warming up their instruments and keeping people on their toes, as they have been known to begin their set from the back of a venue and stride through the crowds onto the stage. From the moment the first few opening notes of their original track ‘Ignorance of Altruism’ were played the audience knew this was going to be an explosive set: there was no doubt in anyone’s mind. ‘Ignorance of Altruism’ is a punchy and energetic track that perfectly recreates the authentic sounds of Africa. The track contained solo after solo, showcasing the collective musical prowess of the band. These were accompanied by Pedro D G Correia’s powerfully delivered vocal interludes.
The Sea Slugs had well and truly commanded the attention of the crowd. Each track they delivered was evocative and genuinely quite exciting to watch. Despite the sheer size of the band, there was a real chemistry between the members that was obvious from the offset. They managed to be both visually and audibly stimulating (never in my life have I seen such a brilliant example of outrageous shirts in one place). It was obvious that each and every member were thoroughly enjoying themselves on stage.
Despite the rain and the grey cloud of exams hanging over all of our shoulders, The Sea Slugs managed to bring a little bit of African sun to a dreary Southampton. I for one cannot wait for the release of their debut album What’s Not Reflected. If their set at The Talking Heads is anything to go by, it certainly will not disappoint.