I arrived a little late for MynieMoe's EP Launch at The Brunswick and unfortunately caught only the last song of support band Le Juki. I'd been privileged to see them once before and was looking forward to another dose of their unusual, experimental 'toys-hop' tunes. I shall have to look out for another show as their set finale was received with warm applause accompanied by that genuine groan that gets released by an audience who really would like a bit more!
Soon the men of MynieMoe were taking to the stage, but unfortunately the Le Juki setup was not as compatible with theirs as we might have hoped and it seemed the whole rig had to be re-wired for the headliners. MynieMoe is the brainchild of former 12 Stone Toddler’s Chris Otero and Ben Jones, Toddler slid from view some time ago, but I always suspected it was only a matter of time before these talented men returned to Brighton stages, with song writing like theirs it would be a crime not to.
For this incarnation Jones remains the master of all things keyboard, sporting a lovely Nord and a fancy looking Moog synth as well as providing backing vocals and a bit of harmonica on some tunes. For MynieMoe lead singer Chris Otero seems to have decided that six strings = good and four strings = bad; not only has he stopped playing the bass guitar he has also banished it from the band, recruiting Bruce Stevens (The Swing Ninjas) to provide the low notes on sousaphone. If you’ve never seen a sousaphone in action before you have to picture a man wrapped in a brass anaconda with the mouth of a gramophone issuing the sound of sublime authentic polka. Completing the line-up we have an excellent singing drummer, Mr Robin O’Keefe, who’s been seen providing percussion for The Sly Tones. O’Keefe’s drumming is flawless, but it’s his backing vocals that really bring the beast alive for me, complimenting Otero’s sensational croon perfectly.
After what seems like an age MynieMoe begin with the opening sousaphone riff of ‘Rataplan’ and the audience are transported into a wonderful world where every groove taps your toe and every melody is an earworm. Mr Bungle comes to mind from time to time, but equally so does Ennio Morricone, as pop melodies and arrangements give way to atmospheric instrumental sections crafted from Jones’ and Otero’s attention to sonic detail. Elements of ska, swing and good old fashioned rock’n’roll are cooked into something entirely new yet comfortingly familiar in their magical cauldron. Towards the end of the set the band are joined by guest clarinet & baritone sax player Bjorn Dahlberg, encouraging them to confidently extend instrumental passages, electrifying the crowd and band alike – I can’t remember the last time I saw a group having so much fun onstage! As the set draws to an end Otero reluctantly bats away calls for an encore, sadly they have reached curfew and the venue has no leeway. I rush home grinning from ear-to-ear, there’s still time to slap the MynieMoe EP in my CD player, crank it up and live the show again – I don’t think my neighbours will be complaining!