It’s hard to believe that it’s been over three years since the release of Basement Jaxx’s last album Crazy Itch Radio, and even harder to imagine it’s been four years since the south London duo troubled the Top 10.
So with new album Scars penned in for a September release and the single Teardrops receiving big love on the airwaves we were excited to see what the Jaxx’s Scars tour had in store for us.
Together with a supporting cast of colourful characters they explode onto the stage with a bang. Good Luck billows out as the opening number and vocalists Vula Malinga and Sharlene Hector, dressed in a silver wedding dress and gold bridesmaid dress respectively, bounce on stage to much applause.
The band runs through some of their biggest tracks, including Where’s Your Head At? And Oh My Gosh, with the occasional instrumental interlude in between. Perhaps the purpose of these interludes is for costume changes, but they come as welcome respite for the crowd, who are already panting for breath after each number, but they don’t really work; a rave rendition of Kings Of Leon‘s Sex On Fire (please people, stop covering this song), and a Basement Jaxx-ified version of M.I.A.‘s similarly done-to-death Paper Planes (complete with rap from MC Slarta John) are flat in comparison to what went before.
The addition of vocalist Brendan Reilly, who literally hits the stage running in a body hugging skeleton suit, brings a new energy to the stage. He, along with Malinga and the Jaxx’s own Simon Buxton, premier the majority of Scars material. She’s No Good, new single Raindrops and Werk all hold great promise, as does My Turn, a Balearic ballad with a sort of showtunes vibe to it.
The Scars tour has already been to the party cities of Sydney and Buenos Aires, and the carnival atmosphere is something that Basement Jaxx very obviously draw from, but at no time does it feel forced or contrived. The light show and visuals, including cartoon monkeys and pandas, are great, and the outfits dazzling. Ten years on, they’re as good as they ever were.