It’s been a while since we were in the Cavern watching a band, a few weeks at least, so it was nice to get down there again and join the throng of sweaty people, dancing along to a fabulous band who are currently riding high on their 2nd album release. We’ve seen Molotov Jukebox before a couple of times, so we knew what to expect, there were many there this evening who had never seen them so it was interesting to gauge their reaction when the music dropped, read on to find out how the evening unfolded.
We arrived at 8pm to see that the door to the Cavern was open, had they let people in early? had we missed the support act already owing to some dodgy Exeter City Council law that says that all live music has to be nipped in the bud by 9pm? thankfully neither of these were true, they had opened up a few minutes earlier in order to kick things off to ensure that all would be wrapped up by a decent time (some of us had work the next day!)
In the bar and main room, there were folk dressed in Hawaiian shirts, shorts, I even saw a few flower garlands adorning people’s necks, it appeared that for one cold and wet night in Exeter that Summer had come early, bringing with it a band that were guaranteed to inject a certain something into what would have been a pretty regular night in Exeter.
We found out that a band called Eugene the Cat were the supporting, well, the entire tour actually and from the word go, they set out their stall, winning over the audience who had nearly filled the room to see what this Austrian 5 piece were capable of.
Touting themselves as a blend of jazz, swing, electronic and Glitch Hop (is there a genre for EVERY type of music out there these days), they soon had the attention of the room and proceeded to launch various swing influenced tracks at the audience. I particularly enjoyed their version of the Star Wars ‘Cantina’ track by John Williams, they really rocked it up with a tight drum track and some killer sax. Vocals were performed by Alexander and Carolina and I was really impressed by her range and ability, a true professional.
They bought along their debut EP ‘Seoul Caravan’ that was released earlier in April, this seemed to be selling well and no doubt it won’t be long until they’re making a long distance phone call back to Austria for fresh supplies to be FEDEX’d over to them for the remaining tour dates!
We chatted to Carolina and Alexander after the show but you’ll have to wait for the transcript of that to come through (won’t be long….I promise!)
Onto the main act of the evening…..
I managed to grab some time with Natalia earlier in the week and asked her a bunch of questions around the new album and the tour that they were currently on (you can read the interview HERE). She was blown away by the amount of support that the fans had given them when they were raising the funds to be able to make the 2nd album ‘Tropical Gypsy’, they had smashed the target amount WAY ahead of schedule, proving that there are a LOT of people out there who really rate this class act!
For the uninitiated amongst you, Molotov Jukebox are a 6 piece ‘Gyp Step’ band (I told you there was a genre for EVERY type of music out there) who specialise in bring the summer to you, whatever the weather outside the venue may be doing. They’re a band who make you move, that’s all I can really say about them, when you’re in a room watching them, you just find yourself bobbing along to the beat, swaying to the melodies, your body almost taking over and doing what comes naturally to it!
Take the music that they perform which is a heady blend of salsa, calypso, jazz & swing, pour it all into a cocktail shaker, blend furiously for a few seconds, serve over ice with an umbrella and slice of pineapple and you pretty much have the PERFECT cocktail that is GUARANTEED to get anyone off their backside and shuffling along in no time at all!
I was stood near the back of the room and it was interesting watching everyone, there were a few ‘lager lads’ who were clearly out for a few end of week beverages with their mates, they were strutting their stuff, in amongst these were females of a certain age who seemed to think that it was more than acceptable to dive around the room, a la ‘Come Dancing’ style, waving their arms all over the place, nearly taking everyone’s eyes out at the same time, I think that they may have thought that they were doing a splendid job of ‘Salsa’ dancing, ladies, just stick to dancing around your handbags to Katrina and the Waves and we’ll all live to see tomorrow!
I was thinking just how the 6 members of Molotov Jukebox were actually going to fit onto the stage at the Cavern, it’s not the largest space you’ve ever see and seeing as Natalia plays an accordion and they have a full drum kit, I really thought that a couple of them may well have had to play from the green room at the back of the room. They DID make it on stage and from the back of the room, they looked like a team of ‘Red Arrow’ pilots in a ‘V’ shape formation, allowing each other just enough room to move about on stage.
Natalia looked cool and composed despite the high temperature inside the main room, I guess I did say earlier that they always brought with them a slice of Summer….. The 21 track set was full of favourites as well as every track from their latest long player which had the desired effect on the near sell out crowd that had packed themselves into the Cavern to marvel at their unique and catchy playing style.
The quality of musicianship throughout the entire band was something to behold, they were so tight and on the money, it was a proper masterclass in HOW to take a room full of people and engage with them to such a degree that they are eating out of your hands in no time at all, ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been in bands, many of them and I can tell you, it’s not the easiest thing to do so my hat goes off to them!
Highlights from the set for me included the opener ‘Dancing with the Dead’, the slower burning reggae tones of ‘Trail of Crumbs’ with it’s killer trumpet backing and the full on carnival atmosphere that was apparent on ‘Leave your Light On’.
Towards the end of the set, I overheard a couple of ladies in the room asking why it was held on a Thursday night, by the amount of slurring they were doing, I imagine a few thick heads at work tomorrow morning!
They’re coming to the end of a nationwide tour of the UK and are set to play a plethora of festivals this coming summer in Europe and the UK, if you get the chance to see them, do make the effort as they will make your summer!
Dancing with the Dead
Don't Wanna Know
Leave your Light On
Can't Find You
Just the Thrill
Trail of Crumbs
If I Knew
I Need It
Words - Steve Muscutt
Photos - © Julian Baird Photography