17 August 2019 / Common Room, Hastings / By Rob Harbers
It was a dreich night in Hastings, but at Common Room DJ Dirty Hairy was introducing Gareth, aka Uncle Silverback, to warm up the night.
Things had kicked off with a DJ set from Dirty Hairy, getting bodies moving before the main act, DJ/turntablist/bassist/trombonist Uncle Silverback from Wellington, took to the decks. Laying down a deep groove, he then proceeded to record loops of bass, then trombone, and overlayer them to build a richly textured sound – the aural equivalent of a multi-layered cake, slipping down about as smoothly as a Black Forest Gateau with a side of hot chocolate, with none of the later regret that can follow such consumption. By this time the weather outside was a distant memory, because things were getting hot and funky inside!
Having grown up in the UK and coming of musical age at the time of acid jazz, his set was reminiscent of the likes of US3, Ronny Jordan and others of the era-jazz with a hip-hop tip, if you like. Citing as his trombone influence and inspiration the legendary Fred Wesley, of James Brown and later Parliament/Funkadelic fame, it’s clear the man has a great respect for those who laid the ground for the milieu in which he now operates, while pushing ever onwards to new expressions. As well as performing as a solo artist, he also plays as a member of the 12-piece Tāwhiri Funk Collective, and also provides trombone texture to New Zealand’s only Balkan Brass ensemble, Niko Ne Zna – so the boy gets around!
The small but enthusiastic crowd quickly got in to the spirit of the event, having been well-primed by DJ Dirty Harry. The evening concluded with a throw-down session between the two DJs, which kept the floor moving and created a risk of exposure as the warmed-up bodies re-encountered the dismal conditions outside.
All round, a great night of entertainment for all present, and one that’ll be the basis of many a “you should have been there” conversation for some time.
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