Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Nizlopi (you know, the guys who did that JCB song)

It’s been a tough time for us recently with a family bereavement last week. We’d spent several weeks waiting in the hospital for the inevitable to finally happen, so when it did there was the sense of relief that the pain was over; but also some sadness as reality sank in.

I took a couple of days off work at the start of this week, just to get some rest and spend some non-hospital time with my better half. We had a day out down in Torquay on Monday, followed by a quiet day on Tuesday. Then on Tuesday night we went to see Nizlopi play at The Point in Cardiff.

Most people, it seems, haven’t heard of them, but they did that song about riding round in a JCB that was a pretty big hit last Christmas (and was made massive by this video). We saw them at Greenbelt at the end of August and thought they were great, but last night they were so much better.

Despite living just round the corner from The Point, I’d never been to this venue before and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s in a converted church, with intact stained glass, which meant it had a lovely high ceiling, but was dark and gothic enough to feel like a proper venue. What the people who built the church would have made of some of the live acts they have there is of course a matter of conjecture (I’m betting they wouldn’t be thrilled).

Unique and intriguing
Nizlopi are apparently Britain’s only folk hip-hop duo, comprising Luke on guitar and vox and JP on double bass and beatbox. Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it. And in fact it is captivating. Not only do they play heartfelt songs, but you can tell they love the music itself. It’s refreshing to see a live act who aren’t full of themselves, but genuinely want to use music to communicate.

They began the show by wandering through the crowd, playing a guitar and singing, which was amusing as it took a while for people to cotton on to who they were. There was one awkward moment when someone almost told them they weren’t pushing through to the front because, you could see them thinking, ‘I’ve been here ages…oh it’s you…’

The band broke with convention a few times – instructing the crowd in group harmonies, coming down off the stage again to stand in the middle of everyone, and performing one of the best covers ever: Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing. They also sang a song about being a bit gay, which they introduced as a potential England world cup song, only twigging later why a Cardiff crowd would boo such a notion.

JCB or JVC? Who cares?
The highlight of the show for many people was The JCB Song (have I mentioned that??). During their instrumental odyssey into the crowd one mouthy ‘older’ Kairdiff girl (you know the type, or if you don’t, consider yourself lucky) had demanded they sing “the JVC song”, so when they eventually did play it, they introduced it as a song about video recorders. Cue much laughter. In truth, for a band with only one bode fide hit, it must get wearing knowing that people have only come to hear one song, but they made a decent fist of it, even if Luke did start by playing the wrong notes, much to JP’s amusement.

The gig ended about 2 hours after it began and, with a return to work looming today, we went home, tired and happy, with an autographed copy of their mini-album. Luke, in his hand-written message urged us to ‘Rock from our hearts forever’.

We will.

There are also some Nizlopi tunes/videos to download here!

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