Manchester's leading funky hopes wrongly believe it's wise to start with their worst songs  rambling groove sessions, with a surfeit of (free)style over content...

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London Kentish Town Forum


London Kentish Town Forum

It’s not an auspicious start. No sooner has Rae & Christian‘s Peter Parker begun parading the slew of curdled noises he can squeeze from his turntables than a punter, seemingly not keen on the fiddly ways of the decknician, roars “Fuck off!” Very loudly.

And you understand his obstreperous sentiments, too, because Manchester’s leading funky hopes wrongly believe it’s wise to start with their worst songs – rambling groove sessions, with a surfeit of (free)style over content. At this point, it’s impossible to rank them above the numerous other blunted combos out there.

Then a celebrity wanders onstage, meaning they keep a more famous kind of company, at least. It’s Texas’ Sharleen Spiteri, quavering through her contribution to R&C‘s ‘Northern Sulphuric Soul’ album, the strangely stilted ‘The Hush’. Though far from earth-shattering it nonetheless provides proof that there’d be some critical hope for her, if only she’d ditch her own determinedly mediocre band.

Spiteri‘s appearance receives the most cheers, yet for a true glimmer of light it’s over to US rapper YZ, who unveils a rush of sage lyrics over the hip-hop of ‘Now I Lay Me Down’. Better still is homegrown singer Veba. When she’s around, they edge far closer to a must-see proposition, with both ‘All I Ask’ and ‘Spellbound’ oozing the kind of Soul II Soul-esque poignancy which sounds so energising after five years of glum-faced trip-hoppery.

It’s in this zone that Rae & Christian excel and in this one they should specialise. They’ve got soul, but now they must determine how best to use it.