I’ll admit, I'd never knowingly heard a note of Tankus The Henge’s music before this.
But I was sufficiently intrigued by the buzz around their live shows to come check out this gig, taking place at The Wedge during Independent Venue Week.
Fronted by the charismatic Jaz Delorean (possibly not his real name), this six piece are musical magpies - pulling all kinds of genres into their heady stew. There’s a dash of gypsy melody here, a soupçon of ska rhythm there, plus a healthy splash of funk dosed liberally all over the shop.
Centred around Jaz’s upright piano, the band, including saxophone and trumpet alongside drum, guitar and bass, are supremely tight.
And Jaz is definitely not a shy retiring sort. Starting the show standing on top of his piano, dressed in a natty purple-check three-piece suit, he’s stripped to the waist by the end of the show.
Oh, and that piano routinely belches smoke all over the place.
You can imagine this bunch tearing it up in New Orleans at Mardi Gras, there's a definite carnival vibe to proceedings.
But the theatrics and showmanship don’t come at the expense of the songs – they’re catchy as hell, and most of them are bellowed back at the band by the sold-out crowd.
Unfortunately technical issues waylay guitarist Tim Fulker at the end of the set, but it’s the only bum-note of the night.
The gig was put on by Beats & Swing, one of our more consistently eclectic promoters – check out their other upcoming shows, including Roni Size, Mr B: The Gentleman Rhymer and Smoove and Turrell.