Bombay Bicycle Club's Jack Steadman wowed the venue with jazz, soul, funk and hip-hop undertones during his performance as Mr Jukes.
Mr Jukes kicked off his UK tour in front of a sold out crowd at Brighton’s Concorde 2. Jack Steadman, the former lead singer of Bombay Bicycle Club, has become Mr Jukes, a soul, funk and jazz maestro whose kaleidoscopic debut record God First dropped this summer. 45 minutes simply was not enough for Mr Jukes, who hopped around all smiles, strumming his bass guitar. Squeezed alongside him on the Concorde’s intimate stage was a nine-piece band, as well as the brass instruments and soulful vocals of Davide Shorty and Mariama Frida. The night was also supported by Cosmo Sheldrake, an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist armed with a loop peddle and oodles of enthusiasm.
The bespectacled Mr Jukes kicked off the night with the funky ‘Somebody New’ and set the tone for the evening with the bouncing brass and soulful vocals – the energy was boundless and infectious from start to finish. The band then slipped into ‘Leap of Faith’, a standout hip-hop track from God First, but in lieu of De La Soul’s rap verse, we were treated to some improvisational jazz – a fair trade-off judging by the cheers from the exhilarated audience.
Mariama Frida near enough stole the show throughout the evening, but it was her cover of Lauren Hill’s ‘Doo-Woop (That Thing)’ that nearly brought the house down. She absolutely nailed the classic, certainly doing the legendary soul singer more than enough justice. After a swirling trumpet solo Frima ended the track on a sensational a capella sing-along that enamoured the entire Concorde 2.
The 9-piece band found time for a five minute instrumental so as to allow the brass section, pianist, drummer and Mr Jukes on the bass to show off their considerable talents. There was no need for complexity in the staging and lighting; every song was punctuated by breathtaking solos by each member of the 9 piece band. Mr Jukes’ debut record is a triumphant locus showcasing the wonders of soul, jazz and funk and the live performance was no different.
Davide Shorty confidently cocked his head up and signalled the start of ‘Grant Green’ by belting out the first line and brought the room to rapture. The song is named for a jazz musician whose cover of James Brown’s ‘Ain’t it Funky Now’ was chanced upon by Jack Steadman in a Japanese Jazz Cafe and is sampled in the track. 6000 miles later and it blew the roof off the Concord.
‘Angels/ Your Love’, a smooth and joyous sax-packed collaboration with BJ the Chicago Kid, seamlessly stitches two songs together with brassy funk. The swirling trombones and mesmerising wail of trumpets in ‘Angels’, sampled from Argentinian Jazz legend Jorge Lopez Ruiz, lead us into BJ the Chicago Kid’s soulful ‘Your Love’.
Bombay Bicycle Club undeniably produced some seminal indie bangers, but Jack Steadman’s evolution into Mr Jukes, a bona-fide sample hound, has been mesmerising. He paragons definition, effortlessly jumping between jazz, soul, funk and hip-hop. And as the band waved goodbye, even the lashing rain did little to dampen everyone’s spirits.
Perhaps calling it a day on Bombay wasn’t such a bad idea?
Tickets for Mr Jukes’ tour are available here.