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First Degree Burns at Boomtown

Monday, 22 August, 2011

Boomtown Fair – Invisible Circus Tent – 14th Aug – 20:00 (1.00)

First Degree Burns  always give it their all, and Sunday’s performance at Boomtown was no different.

Glitter, feathers and top hats jostled for space amongst eight perfomers and their array of instruments.  Not to mention the space taken up by their huge egos.  They have talked about the quandry of accomodating eight big personalities off stage, but on it, the result is a big sound and a high energy performance.

Their sound, which they refer to as ‘Skip-hop’ has become a symbol of the Bristol festival scene, and many of the tracks from their first album, called ‘This is Skip-hop’ were played, to the delight of a crowd largely made up of people alread converted to an eclectic new genre, a mixture of dub, hip-hop, ska and reggae.  The resulting sound of a blend of many styles within one tune is surprisingly uncomplicated, and many could not help singing along with the clear, catchy lyrics, or bouncing along to the dub beats.   At regular intervals throughout the perfomance the crowd was treated to some coherent, fast rapping from J, and big brass sounds.  Changing paces within each tune regularly whipped the crowd into a frenzy.

Perhaps their popularity stemmed from the universal themes addressed within the music, the crowd empathising with ‘Every day you try to make the best choice’ and ‘I wonder why you went away?’   The latter opened with a clashing, tin pan sound and ska style syncopated rhythm, leading to a faster instrumental section which reflects the fury of unfinished business.  Incorporating  humour, both with words and without,  ‘Who dem guys?’  came across as a brash, self assured rhetorical question, as they stated, with a pinch of irony, that   ‘FDB (are) teaching you the truth’.  Then they mixed the instantly recognisable ‘No Limit’ melody with ska style,  almost sinister  ‘ghost town’ undertones.  But it was not all hedonistic pleasure in the First Degree Burns camp, as  ‘Who are them?’ reminded all that they are just young guys with a strong social conscience, using this arena to make their political voice heard.

Playing to a packed tent, they kept the full attention of themajority within, dancing on stage, unperturbed by some imbalances in the sound quality.  Playing with unwavering passion, confidence and humour, they clearly loved every minute of it, declaring ‘If I could marry music then you’d truly be my first wife’.   At times it was hard to work out who was having more fun, the crowd or the band, although as they finished to the sound of loud cheers, it had to be close.  Many people left still dancing, and most were smiling.

First Degree Burns are hoping to break past the Bristol barrier, as they are very happy with the current crew and the sounds they produce.  Never forgetting where they came from, and clearly ‘Proud to be part of the Bristol family’,  if they are so well received in Winchester, they are probably going to make it elsewhere.

Ben Baikovitch-Fisher – Drums; Sam Baikovitch-Fisher – Vocals/Clarinet; George Shipley – Bass; Jalon Fearon-Zbijowski – Vocals; John-Henry Harris – Sax; Alistair Hall – Keys; Michael Burrows – Guitar; Adam Mcloughlin – Sax

(c) Claire Higgins 2011

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