Event Review: Baba Zula @ Under the Bridge (London, 27th April 2017)

You can strip them of their cables, pedals and stage costumes, but you can’t extinguish their innate psychedelic flame. As a matter of fact, despite part of their equipment never reaching London, after being lost at the airport, Baba Zula set Chelsea’s Under the Bridge on fire during their latest appearance in the British capital.

The influential Turkish band visited the UK less than two years ago, but on this occasion, they had in store a special gift for their audience. Their new album/greatest hits XX, and throughout their performance, they used it to take the audience along, on a journey through their career.

Baba Zula are known to soak their shows in piping hot solutions of social and political issues and also on this occasion, they didn’t delude their fans. Airport security was the touch-paper they used to ruminate on the world’s state of affairs, from pervasive Governmental control and restrictions, passing through Turkey’s dictatorship in disguise and ending with Trump. Even if Murat Ertel and Periklis Tsoukalas didn’t spare any bullet, they constantly hit their targets.

The same happened with their set: song after song dragged the large crowd into their music realm. Enhanced by Melike Şahin’s charming voice and stage presence, Baba Zula’s tantalising sound embraced the entire venue. The musicians are indeed masters in blending together their Turkish roots with electric and electronic arrangements, creating a well-renowned brew of psychedelic, dub and up-tempo interpretations of Anatolian folk.

Their musical philosophy glaringly manifested itself during the rendition of “Özgür Ruh” and “Itaat Etme”. It wasn’t just about the vintage Oriental atmospheres crafted by the harmonies and mellow tempos; it was also because of the strongly independent attitude of the artists on stage and their anti-establishment, cultural approach.

More than a band, Baba Zula are a bold music statement and once on stage, their fire-eating artistic nature emerges in all its rhythmic and melodic drive.

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