The Notting Hill Arts Club is a small, low ceilinged basement space, but as it gradually filled up with punters it also filled up with cigarette smoke. I'm really getting too old for the interminable waiting and other physical discomforts that are involved with seeing bands play live.
The first part of the evenings free entertainment - if you got there before 8.00 pm that is - was Martin Scorsese's film on Malian Blues which was projected cinema-sized onto what looked like an old sheet, but it still looked and sounded surprisingly good through the house PA.
I first saw Future Shape of Sound a couple of weeks ago in the cavernous space of a
sparsely populated Bush Hall. They had no drummer, no Son of Dave on harp and a booming incoherent sound. Yet my wife and I still thoroughly enjoyed them despite these handicaps. So what would they be like on a good night? Tonight Son of Dave was there and a drummer was there - though not their regular one.
A brief word with their friendly scouse rapper Big Daddy Kai, warned me that they wouldn't be doing their full FSOS set tonight because they were functioning as 'the blues house-band' so a few blues covers had been rehearsed for inclusion. But I needn't have worried, they were still fantastic.
Just to look at this motley crew reminds me of when bands made an effort with their appearance as well as there music. There's the Clockwork Orange stylings of their leader Alex, the huge, bearded, bear-like presence of Big Daddy Kai, the angular Dick Tracy cartoon looks of Son of Dave, and, last but not least, the endearingly overeager Afro-glamourous sparkle of Nuwella. Overall they have the look of a family of streetwise super heroes for a post-apocalyptic world.
But it was Nuwella who stole the show tonight. She proved herself a great singer as oppose to just a great pop singer, with an Etta James cover which she made her own.
The bands own material fitted in surprisingly well amongst the standards with neither old or new standing out as superior - which was no mean achievement.
Future Shape of Sound will be hosting this Blues evening on the last Tuesday of the month for the foreseeable future. I recommend it as a good night out, and if you smoke - a great night out.



The Future Shape of Sound at "The modern blues project" -
Notting Hill Arts Club 26 Oct 2004 by Howard Male