While the Jazz Cafe in Camden might not have the same kudos as some of Soho’s more illustrious venues, such as Ronnie Scott’s or Pizza Express, it has certainly built itself a solid reputation over the years and has been host to some of the more fringe elements of the jazz world, such as rap and hip-hop. This makes it an ideal venue for Bristol-based six-piece Yes Sir Boss to hold the launch gig for their long awaited album Desperation State on Joss Stone’s Stone-d label.
We caught them for the first time this summer at Wonderground Spiegeltent on London’s Southbank, where they appeared with Dizraeli and the Small Gods, and Shatterjapan favourites Molotov Jukebox. Despite lead singer and guitarist Matt Sellors being down with a dose of man flu that left him struggling with his vocals, they got the joint jumping before the Molotovs tore the house down. However, Thursday was their night. We’d arranged to meet the band before the gig for a chat about their music (appearing on the site sometime soon), and they were excited about the show.
When support act Joe Driscoll came on stage, the room was still sparsely populated, but it wasn’t long before this New Yorker and his Gibson was pulling in the crowd with his enthusiastic live beatbox loops and hip-hop musings, making him sound something like a one-man Fun Loving Criminal. Not only did he warm up the room, but he also kept giving shout outs to the evening’s headliners, so by the time they hit the stage the room was fully primed.
Given the rapturous welcome, the venue was clearly filled with dedicated fans. The band worked their way through songs from the album, along with one or two older ones, all of which were more than familiar to the audience, who joined in enthusiastically, both physically and vocally. For a six-piece, the ska-infused songs feel much larger, primarily due to the driving sound of its horn section, made up of multi-instrumentalists Tom First and Jehan Abdel-Malak.
The album itself is a well-polished production that highlights the band’s songwriting and musical skills, and will brighten up any day – it also makes great driving/cycling music (although cycling with headphones is not recommended) – but to really get a feel for the band’s energy and their mighty mighty Yes Sir Boss tones, they should be seen live, preferably where there is plenty of space move your body.
They are touring in Holland, Ireland and the UK over the next two months. Get full tour details and links to their album from their website and get out and see them.