Gilles Peterson @ Plan B, London, 3 March 2007 PDF Print E-mail
Gigs - 2007 Gigs
Written by TK   
There is something special about heading out to South London on a Saturday night.  Brixton nightlife is always buzzing on the weekend, and last Saturday was no exception.

As I emerged from the tube, I was greeted with an onslaught of young revellers who had just seen the Fratellis playing.  The streets were awash with people talking, laughing and drinking, which was a good thing for me as it made having to queue for quite some time to see a Gilles Peterson set at Plan B more entertaining than it would ordinarily have been.

Having dealt with an overly aggressive manager at the front door of the club, a security check, a twenty minute wait at the cloakroom and a ten minute wait at the bar, I was in the mood to have my spirits lifted by the great Gilles Peterson.  And lift them he did.  But not before I had watched a very impressive set by Sambalanco, who played a mix of old-school house, soul and funk and ensured that the crowd was jumping as early as eleven pm.  The crowd itself, although excitable, was not overly exciting with most of the guys dressed in the ever-reliable shirt and jeans combination.  The girls, however, were slightly more glammed-up.  However, there was a good vibe about.  However, the vibe quickly changed after fifteen very tall and drunk men stumbled their way onto the dance floor.  Soon dancing became an absolute chore for everyone, with drinks flying about, feet being trampled on and the body movements of the group of drunks being about as steady as the stock market is at the moment.

But this was all soon forgotten as Gilles Peterson was introduced to the crowd.  And his vocal enthusiasm for Brixton mirrored mine, which was a great way for him to initially win the crowd over.  After the funky fat-beats of the set proceeding his, Gilles' beginnings were relatively slow in tempo with several classic R&B numbers being played including Hi Tek's "Can We Go Back?", before the ante was upped with some house and funk.  By this time the dance floor was jammed like a ferry in Thailand in tourist-season.  Even the corridors were packed with people moving their hips. And I have never seen bathroom attendants looking happier.  Even the bartenders were loving it, and who can blame them?  Arguably behind the bar they had the most space to dance out of everyone, and by the actions of one bartender who was literally dancing a hole into the floor they certainly were taking advantage of their ability to move freely (unfortunately for the crowd they were probably dancing more than serving drinks).  Gilles' set eventually moved into a jazzier, funkier focus, and at one point he sampled a freshly released nu jazz track out of Japan of all places, although to fans of nu jazz this will come as no surprise.

As the night moved into morning, and the lunar eclipse passed outside unnoticed, the crowd gyrated to Gilles under the sparkling disco-ball above them. Gilles, who is the mastermind behind the Acid Jazz, Talkin Loud and Brownswood record labels and host of a BBC worldwide radio show, had rocked Brixton with his eclectic mix of soulful house, Latin and Brazilian house, nu jazz and funk. I think Gilles' ability to mix so many different genres of music without sweat is what sums him up the most.  Eclectic is one of the English language's most overused words, however no word epitomises Gilles' style more.

The crowd was disappointed when Giles' completed his set, and he got an appropriately rousing reception.  My friend summed up the night like this: "Loved Gilles, hated the Plan B hassles".  Ditto.  However, just like watching a great band play in the rain and mud at the Glastonbury festival, listening to Gilles in a drunken overcrowded hot room at Plan B was well worth it.

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