Jagwar Ma / Birthdays
Is this the future, or just the potential for 20,000 people to be dancing in a field? Emily Kendrick says it's both!
You wouldn’t know from the shoulder barging in the basement of Birthdays that tonight is Jagwar Ma’s first show in London. The lack of nerves on stage doesn’t give it away, and what’s more you wouldn’t think from the inexhaustible performance going on, this was all the brainchild of the man at the back.
Jono Ma spends a large proportion of the evening flipping the switches on Jagwar Ma’s synthetic percussive arsenal, programming, orchestrating the slight mania. But out front it’s all about singer Gabriel Winterfield inviting us to “Exercise Your Chemistry”. He is definitely putting in his own workout.
Kicking things off with b-side ‘What Love?’, it's a warm frazzled 4-to-the-floor stomp, developing into an unrelenting groove for their whole set. Greeted with happy familiarity ‘Come Save Me’ further hypes up an already animated crowd, which is in no small part owing to the bass player’s limb throwing – you really can’t blame him, melodies and tempos just begging to move your body.
Current favourite ‘The Throw’ makes a late appearance, by which time we’re half-blinded by the strobes, yet totally entranced. Theirs has been a call to languid dance through the ages of psychedelic meandering, sprinkled with a panache of Primal Scream. And maybe it’s that comparison, but we can’t imagine a better setting for this than massive festival fields.