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Moses Boyd at Headrow House: A Review

By Charlie Malcolm-McKay

Image credit: Charlie Malcom-McKay

The burgeoning underground jazz scene in the city of Leeds was graced by South London drummer, composer and producer Moses Boyd with the spellbinding, spine-tingling performance of his landmark record Dark Matter. Headrow House saw the

freewheeling improvisations, lively afrobeats and electronic-like rhythms all fuse for a night of pure passion, expression and vibrancy.

In true NikNak style the legendary Leeds DJ greased the wheels of the dancefloor with her electrifying sounds and vivacious energy. She brought the ever-growing crowd of listeners together to form a sea of nodding heads and buzz of excited chatter. To the corner of the stage was a drumkit, equipped with eight microphones it became the focal point for the audience to flock towards. With the lights dimmed and smoke swarming the stage it was only a matter of time before Moses and his band would appear.

From the dark purple ambience four black silhouettes emerged and were greeted with whistles and applause. A low hum of snare and reverb echoed across the walls of the intimate venue space and as it increased in volume so too did the pulsating strobe in its rapidity. It was an ethereal opening that built to a crescendo before expertly dropping into the snappy saxophone of Stranger than Fiction. As one of the standout tracks of the album, the first song was a display of thrilling versatility with Moses commanding his band in true Billy Cobham fashion.

The interaction, collaboration and improvisation flowed over to Y.O.Y.O with seamless effort, a slightly more up-tempo, menacing track that gave way to Axiom, a melodic fusion of sounds where every instrument seemed to converse in its own rightful language. Following this was perhaps the highlight of the night, with the band exiting the stage, Moses was left to showcase his raw talent in a drumming solo of soul-stirring emotion that surely cemented his place as one of the faces of underground jazz fusion.

2 Far Gone, What Now? And BTB were also a huge part of the set each offering a distinct ambience that only further invigorated the audience with spirit and vehemence. Concluding his show with breakthrough dancefloor crossover Rye Lane Shuffle, the acclaim Moses received for Dark Matter will be only matched by his awe-inspiring live performance of it.

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