Monday, 16 March 2009
The Zen Hussies - Bristol, Fiddlers 21/02/2009
The hair gel came out and the swing switched max on. The Zen Hussies came out to play on Saturday 21st February and they took the audience in their time machine and buzzed me, themselves and everyone, to a land where the crunch aint hittin’. And what a fantastic grunting, rolling voice the lead singer has. A Victoria sponge cake with fluorescent icing, the Hussies have the style and sound of the swing era, combined with a flourish of the modern, a bare footed sax player, a smattering of the modern hippy/new retro glam. The bare brick walls of the venue adding the element of an old dance hall, or a 30s jazz club perhaps.
So refreshing to watch a band play this kind of music live, and have so many adoring fans, dancing in circles, or with a burlesque feminine flourish. Nostalgia is hitting the world pretty hard right now with the recession, and has for a long time. Increasingly now, young people are also looking to that ‘simpler’ time. Whether it was or not, we/they weren’t even there, but the music taps into the idealistic dreams of the old, and the style separates the girls and the boys with colour and frivolity.
You, audience member, are your Granny and Granddad when they fell in love. But you are them in 2009, so one must add a bit of the something that wouldn't have been there before...your Granny wouldn’t be proactively dancing next to your potential Granddad in 1945. But they wanted to... didn't they? The Zen Hussies embrace all the qualities of an old dance in your local hall, then put in some liberalism. You can see they have been through the 60s free love session. Their stage presence is a little more modern, they roll in the element of the new hippy. Their audience are people that like to dress up, to embrace creativity, and a touch of knitting. They make their own clothes and dance to old school, 'real' music.
...They would all look fantastic playing in the woods with fairy lights, flowing fabric and men in brown suits with waistcoats.
The Zen Hussies are a modern Jazz. They take a portion of youth's past exuberance, music and style, and then add a dollop of the naughty but friendly new. Love it. A contented smiling, twirling act, helped by the atmosphere being so friendly and appealing. A combination of all we know and all we are waiting for.
Certainly I would recommend this band of jazzy, swingy, cool kids. They embrace all that is tea and cakes on an afternoon, having a good old dance, swinging and smiling, red lipstick and smirks. A really deliciously sexy combination. And they’re local.