Ruby and the Vines & Fur @ the Vortex Jazz Club

Ruby and the Vines, Vortex Jazz Cafe, Mar 23, 2013 by Aaron LeeBass players don’t get enough props. And female bass players get even less.

It’s the likes of Shingai Shoniwa (Noisette), Lindsey ‘Lyn-Z’ Way (Mindless Self Indulgence) and Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads) who’ve had club goers and rock fans shaking to the beat.

Binisa Bonner (pictured above) is another name to add to that list. As Ruby and the Vines, she and her band shook up the place at the Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston on Saturday night.

Fronted by Bonner on vocals and bass, backed by drums and guitar, the music had a deliciously raw feel to it. With the audience loosened up with some beckoning, pensive numbers, the band dived into ‘Circles’, a jazzy, Afrobeat rhythm that oscillated from rousing chorus to hypnotic interval and back again.

Binisa’s soft, cooing vocals took centre stage on the band’s new single, ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ – a reinterpretation of the Nirvana song. With a funkier, rock beat, the sea of bodies packed into the small venue moved with an energy that threatened to bring the floor crashing down on the bar directly beneath it.

Cruising from dub to jazz to rock, there’s an indelible cross-culture feel to Ruby and the Vines, and one which welcomes inquisitive ears.

Fur band, Vortex  Jazz Cafe Mar 23, 2013 by Aaron LeeFur real

Next, Fur, the band I’d ventured out on an icy March evening to see, took the stage.

This eight-piece hip hop collective cites J Dilla, MF Doom and Herbie Hancock among their influences. With songs that are about making the mundane fantastic, and all to the sound of fresh beats, it’s easy to see why.

Lead vocalist, Josh Solnick (pictured above) aka Murmur aka Rapman, sounds off with verve. Cheeky, knowing and funny, there’s an everyman vibe to his tales that draw from London life and the changes going on, be it the gentrified, the homogenised or the seedier side.

But no matter what the story was, Fur’s music left the audience jamming. Its talented instrumentalists got hips motoring to the rhythm of ‘Prostitutes’, full of funky bass lines and fragile-sounding guitar plucks. While new single ‘Biannual Coffee Cups’ had the room shaking to its hypnotic, protracted beat.

Displaying the most energy that night was Ben Pollock, Fur’s cello player, who was banging his head to the beat, and urging the audience on with his bow like a t-shirt-wearing Norse god. That’s an experience you really have to witness for yourself.

If you like you’re hip hop conscious and quirky, with heaps of jazz and Afrobeat, check out Fur.

Images: Aaron Lee