Thursday 4th December
O2 Academy Leeds
Dancing gorillas, a multitude of nationalities, their very own ballerina, every colour on the spectrum, strong voices and talented drummers backed by two passionate DJs behind them, this was Basement Jaxx. This being their first tour for five years, their colourful extravaganza and carnival like performance certainly shows that Basement Jaxx had missed what they do best. Many had thought that 2009 marked the end of dance duo. The year had seen Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe release Scars and Zephyr, and their 15 years in the business had led them to work with various hugely successful artists such as Kelis and even Yoko Ono. However the recent resurgence of 90s house music culture, spurred the pair onto releasing a 20th anniversary album accompanied by a UK tour across November and December.
For anyone else that may not have gone to one of Basement Jaxx’s tour dates this winter and were unsure what their performance would be like, it can be safely said that they don’t follow the typical ‘gig-routine’. They had dance act Rudimental dancing onstage as Gorillas, a Ballerina to dance to some of their slower songs and Felix even supplied the crowd with a good soaking thanks to the numerous water pistols that were being fired into the crowd throughout the gig. The dance duo have finally brought the fun back to touring, their set was like an onstage Brazilian carnival combined with a set of talented of dancers and singers urging the crowd to dance. Felix and Simon effortlessly transitioned from one track to the other as their several collaboration singers rapidly got changed offstage. Jaxx included tracks across a variety of genres, even dabbling into some heavy Drum n Bass which was soon mixed into an acoustic track, the pair definitely kept the crowd guessing. The performance on the whole was a massive party, something you would expect from a dance duo that had been in the business for two decades.
On the whole the new album, the performance and general atmosphere within the crowd proved that Basement Jaxx could arguably be Britain’s best dance duo over the past 20 years, and ‘Junto’ Is a fitting tribute to such a great career.
Words by James Bate
Images courtesy of Neil Chapman