Review: Ibibio Sound Machine @ Village Underground (London, 27th November 2014)

If you were hungry for the modern face of world music and global beats then Village Underground was the venue to be on this November night. Not only were Ibibio Sound Machine playing the home town leg of their first headlining tour, Afrikan Boy was also there bringing his unique blend of Nigerian influenced Grime, and he whipped up the crowd and got the place shaking in readiness for the main act.

When Ibibio Sound Machine hit the stage the venue was packed and raring to get down to some serious global beats. Inspired by the golden era of West-African funk & Afrobeat and fronted by London-born Nigerian singer Eno Williams, Ibibio Sound Machine are a clash of electronic music and High Life, disco and funk, analogue synths plus post-punk & electro all mixed together to create a sure-fire cocktail of killer dance floor tunes.

Eno, Ibibio Sound Machine’s front-woman kicked off the night by showcasing the range of her vocal ability and bringing the sweet sound of Gospel to the Village Underground. This was the calm before the storm. Then it was down to business with a succession of funk, disco and electro infused tracks that drew the crowd into a frenzy of shape pulling on the dance floor. The energy that Ibibio Sound Machine were putting into their performance was being projected straight back from the audience to create an electric atmosphere in the venue.

As the eight-piece band effortlessly played out the global electro beats with hit songs such as ‘The Talking Fish’ and ‘Let’s Dance’ you could see why they are rated as one of the best new global beats bands to see live. Eno has an amazing energy, not just singing but dancing too, and when she isn’t belting out lyrics in her native Ibibio language she’s grooving around the stage showing of some killer dance moves. In fact the whole band seem to bounce off each other so much while on stage that you’d think they would never stop!

After one of several interactive call and response sessions with the crowd chanting “the pot is on fire!” Ibibio Sound Machine are joined on stage by Afrikan Boy. Together they bring the night to a crescendo in a high-energy funk out with all hands on deck and the audience completely absorbed in the music. Having exploded onto various festivals around Europe this summer and with a stage presence that oozes confidence Ibibio Sound Machine is set to go stellar in 2015.

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