Friday, March 10, 2017


Friday night saw a globe-spanning double launch featuring like-minded funksters, Perth’s own DJ/producer Charlie Bucket and Detroit producer Tall Black Guy. Together they took over Babushka, the cosy upstairs room at the old Leederville Hotel.

Mr Bucket has recently released his second EP One Life [Check out the review last week in X-Press] and Terrel Wallace aka Tall Black Guy recently dropped a new LP called Let’s Take a Trip. The records are quite different, but share common influences, so it seemed like a solid double bill.

Early on, DJ Nick Sheppard built the mood with a fine selection of grooves, before his good mate and man of the hour Charlie Bucket got up behind the decks and greeted the room. Kicking off his set he was joined on stage by MC Amani of local live soul/hip hop band The Amani Consort, as well as local vocalist Natalie Mae and local legend Sheppard who strapped on his axe to add some live guitar to Charlie’s beats.

They launched into the closing track of the new EP, the soulful R&B flavours of So Far. Amani very capably filled in for Detroit’s Boog Brown who laid down the vocals on the EP. Her smooth rhymes were perfectly complemented by Mae’s gorgeous backing vocals and harmonies who also features on the album. They followed it up with another EP track featuring Boog Brown’s rapping, Over – again Amani owned it.

Amani and Mae stepped down and Charlie introduced to the stage The Ruby Horns, a talented local three-piece horn section, and MC Wisdom Tooth who took on the opening brass-led banger from the EP, the title track One Life, which on record features US East Coast rappers Blitz The Ambassador & Rashaan Ahmad.

Wisdom continued on vocal duties for Scatter Scatter, a buoyant track that Bucket recorded with Australia’s N’fa Jones & the UK’s Ty. Wisdom had a playful, dynamic stage presence, joking around and making Coming to America references, thanking the band, “Give it up for the band – Sexual Chocolate!” It was a shame Wisdom didn’t take on Wisdom, the other stand-out track from the new EP that features Detroit’s Guilty Simpson.

Casually strumming along in the background was Sheppard, laying down some sweet, tight guitar licks, and even backing vocals on Gimme Something from Bucket’s previous EP Honesty. “Give it up for Nick Sheppard – he used to be in some band… Pet Shop Boys from the UK…” Charlie jibed with a friendly pisstake. Sheppard was in fact a member of UK legends The Clash, for a few years in the 80s after Mick Jones was sacked. The expat now resides in Perth, and can be found busting out soulful jams behind the decks all around town, or playing with various bands such as The DomNicks.

For the finale Bucket brought up the wonderful, enigmatic Grace Barbe and local trumpet legend Jimmy the Lips. Barbe had just flown in from the Seychelles Islands and looked the part, dressed in an amazing colourful outfit and broad brimmed hat. “This song is all about dancing and shaking the coconuts!” she proclaimed, and everyone obliged as she launched into the tropical, bossa nova, afro-kreol grooves of Danes Mon Toussell, another highlight from Bucket’s last EP.

Barbe who frequently blesses Perth with her presence, is like our very own Lauryn Hill. Her vocals are incredibly smooth and soulful, like honey and she oozes onstage charisma.

It was a short but sweet set, with most songs sounding all the better for the live treatment, with Charlie’s impressive all-star cast of vocalist and musicans.

Tall Black Guy stepped up next. He seemed a little isolated in the corner of the stage behind the desk of equipment. Taking things slow, he got off to a very chilled start with some downtempo grooves, before slowly lifting the level and dropping some beats.

Perhaps not well suited to the club vibe, his atmospheric, lush, musical productions are more loungey and suited to a sunny Sunday sesh, and was a step down in energy after Charlie and co. Unfortunately some of the crowd weren’t feeling it and the numbers in the room dwindled.

Nevertheless TBG soldiered on with his sexy mix of slinky beats. Mixing originals and remixes together with a live Abelton setup, it was a smooth, seamless journey. Cut up samples jerked alongside jazzy flavours as he worked up the tempo. Sadly it was too late for many who’d moved on. He may have been better served starting with some more uptempo tunes to keep the crowd.

Towards the end, Charlie Bucket got up alongside him to add some scratches over the top of his beats, and in turn tagged fellow local decknician Beni Chill who was in the crowd to get up and show off his impressive scratching skills. The small, but appreciate group of punters let TBG know that his music and tour was appreciated. A fairly chilled evening but a great vibe in the room, with some real music lovers getting down to some funky beats. A real shame to see a world class producer the likes of TBG playing to a near empty room – but it just wasn’t the night for it. Lovers of soulful beats and ambience, check this man out!


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