Jamie Cullum & Ben Cullum @ The Forum, 7th September

I love Jamie Cullum. I have been following his career since he first signed with Universal all those many moons ago. I have seen so many of his gigs that I have lost count, but I guestimated the number is nearing my current age, which is 28. I’ve seen him play in small clubs, at massive festivals and everything in between. I have never, however, seen him do a dance set with his brother Ben. Well, until last night.

It was awesome. If you like Jamie for his standards then you probably would’ve hated it, it wasn’t exactly a regular Jamie gig. First off, it wasn’t sold out, which I have never experienced in all the time I’ve been going to Jamie gigs. Second, jazz? What’s that? Well, that’s not really true, but strectching the boundaries of jazz, you bet.

He was supported by jazz legend Mark Murphy and drum ‘n’ bass collective Reprazent

Mark Murphy was fantastic. I will admit that I never heard of him until Jamie mentioned him. He’s erm…. eccentric to say the very least. The jacket… His performance was stellar. He had an amazing band with him. He did a song with Jamie and you could tell that as talented and skilled Jamie is, opposite a veteran like this he was a bit out of his depth, but I think Jamie himself realised this as well, haha. It was still a great bit of the show.

Then it was time for Reprezent. Now, I am not a drum ‘n’ bass girl *at all*, but boy did I have a good time. We were stood right at the back, which was good, I think. The girl-singer was *amazing* and we did silly dance moves to the beat. Jamie showed up doing some keyboard. ’twas good.

Then it was time for JC & BC. I had a chat with Ben during Mark Murphy’s set and he said they were going to their new dance project and bring us some ‘phat beats’. Curious as to what that would entail I waited with baited breath. It was fucking amazing. Yes, it wasn’t a regular Jamie gig, but it’s been years since I felt this high on the music at a Jamie gig. Ben is a fantastic dance musician, he knows his beats, he really does. He also knows how to handle a bass… Oh. God. The beats were indeed phat. Ben on bass, Jamie on keys, synthesizer and all kinds of gadgets. The crowd was a dancing like crazy. We were treated to new material and a steaming ‘Where the love lives’.

Before JC & BC’s set I saw Soweto Kinch on stage. Now, for those of you who don’t know (but should really), Soweto is God. God.Of.Sax. God.Of.HipHopJazz. The best sax-player out there at the moment, I think. The stuff he does to his sax is just… beyond words. Needless to say, I got all psyched about Soweto and Jamie sharing a stage as that has been a wish of mine for a long long time. And it came true last night. Jamie brought Soweto on for some freestyle. First off there was rap. Granted, he’s not the best rapper, but his performance makes up for it and his raps are flowing and intelligent. Then he picked up his sax and was joined by Rory on trumpet and what followed can only be described as obscene. It’s hard to describe. Improvs left, right and centre, Jamie sampling the improvs I believe, Ben providing some seriously sick basslines, Soweto and Rory challenging each other, it was obscene.

Then, we all needed to recover, but relentlessly Jamie and Ben started their final tracks, in true clubbing fashion. If this set had been at Fabric, I wouldn’t have been surprised. And then, to top it off, we were given carnaval. Braziliian carnival. On came a percussion band and three dancers, in feathers and everything. It was good. Very good. It felt like Notting Hill Carnaval, but without the crowds, hahaha.

Did Jamie get away with it? I think he did. It will not be to everyone’s liking, however, it showed a different Jamie, but still very much the same. Less in his comfortzone of his band, his grand and songs he’s sung hundreds of times. But still it showed Jamie, the incredible performer, the amazingly talented musician, not afraid to take risks and enter new musical realms. He could’ve been slaughtered, right there and then. He wasn’t. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but I did. It was like discovering Jamie all over again. It was what I needed.

It was an incredible experience and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see this!


September 8, 2007. gigs, reviews.


  1. Oz replied:

    Will any of the stuff performed be accesible? i really want to listen to it, was everything recorded?

  2. foxyfemke replied:

    Something might show up on YouTube at some point… *ahem*

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