Mixed genre nights are always a good opportunity to catch new bands and see what the latest buzz is all about. It's also good, solid proof that hype vs. reality is always a tough hurdle to jump. Laurel Collective's buzz was quite a tall one.

The night started okay. Love For Zero have their sound defined, but it doesn't change much during their set (except for the final two tracks). To be fair the band has changed its line-up so much, and maybe they're finally finding their signature sound.

Love for Zero

Montage Populaire were a real pleasure to watch. I'd venture to say they had the biggest audience of the night. It seemed that way and it’s understandable: their rock & glitch electronic sound was quite the treat. Having just released an EP (the superb Not all bombs explode), the band seemed to be riding on that buzz. The bass player needs to get a medal for both speed and precision.

Montage Populaire 2

It was finally the moment for the The Laurel Collective to step up to the challenge. It’s hard to describe their sound with just a few songs on their Soundcloud, but suffice to say, it's decidedly tropical and peppy. Dunno what genre this will get pigeonholed in (90’s critics would say: ‘alternative’) but it was a very vivacious sort of music, and audience participation was definitely encouraged. Indeed, co-singer Martin Sakutu mingled with the public, asking a few at the front to come closer and throw shapes, and even offered a girl a chance to drum on the bongos. She missed a few beats and nicked the drumstick, hiding herself in the crowd.

The Laurel Collective 1

'They Hate Me' is a pretty nice, friendly track, but it wasn’t the highlight of their set. That honour goes to whatever track they played when three members of the band become a samba rhythm band. It was strangely tribal-like, even ritualistic. It mesmerised the crowd, and made them start to move, even if it was with their toes wiggling inside their shoes.

The Laurel Collective 3

A few reminders of their new album dropping in May were the parting words from the band. The old firehouse that is Bungalows and Bears still resonates with some tribal drumming and some sweet bass doodling. Two out of three ain’t bad.

The Laurel Collective 2