The archway under Brighton station known as the Green Door Store is crammed and packed out to the brim – meaning you can hardly move. The crowd is a mixture of fine art students and obsessive music fans alike.
I can remember exactly who I was in the heyday of chillwave: a newly come-of-age teenager who was starting to shed his indie kid demeanour and begin exploring the vast ocean of electronic music. Washed Out’s ‘Feel It All Around’ soundtracked what felt like a never-ending school summer holidays, later dubbed as the 2009 summer of chillwave; filled with rose-tinted disposable camera photographs, faux pas heartbreak with a tinge of teenage angst, and misguided youthful drinking abroad on the beach.
Opening with a brass rendition of Skepta’s grime-anthem, ‘Shutdown’, was perhaps the perfect way to introduce Ezra Collective and their sound and attitude to a fresh face of hip-shakers. It’s grimey, playful, very London-centric, and of course the buzzword: it’s jazz. In fact, they are trailblazers in the scene, as it was only a few weeks ago that keys wizard, Joe Armon Jones, played to a sold out crowd upstairs in the very same venue courtesy of Mr Bongo’s new Jazz Club night.
It was as if I had immersed myself within a Jack Kerouac novel. Suddenly, without a word of warning, the quartet emerged on stage. An exhilarating and explosive start left the room roaring, as the revolving cast of twinned percussionists catalysed the crowd into dancing fruition; with their syncopated and scattershot rhythms building up the energy in the room.
As I stand alone on the top balcony of The Haunt, listening to trap blasting out of the PA, I look down to a packed-out crowd. I remind myself that everyone here, including myself, has come to see a solo jazz drummer perform live. Yussef Dayes nearly sold-out the gig before dropping his debut release, ‘Love is the Message’, selling out days later with only two tracks to his name.
Erupting onto the scene earlier this year, Mildlife’s introduction to the world of music heads in-the-know, appeared to happen overnight.
Championed by the likes of Gilles Peterson on Radio 6 Music and Worldwide FM, it wasn’t long until presenters at Brighton’s most loved underground radio station, 1BTN, had caught wind, and were ferociously playing out the tightly locked-in-grooves and ethereal tones of Melbourne’s newest exports.