Thu, 15 Nov 2018
The Bongolian, at Arlington Arts, Snelsmore, on Saturday, November 3, 2018
I FELT genuinely sorry for the DJ given the task of playing a one hour set before the Bongolian came on stage tonight. At least 80 per cent of the audience stayed outside in the bar and those who did come in sat chatting and playing with their phones throughout. I understand the concept, but in a venue like Arlington Arts it just does not
work. He did nothing wrong but you cannot ‘warm-up’ a non-existent crowd. His after show set seemed likely to fare little better as the majority of people simply drifted away. I know it is meant to be part of the Bongolian show experience and to recreate the 60s soul/funk club atmosphere, but it felt superfluous and was ineffective.
The moment the Bongolian (aka Nasser Bouzida) hit the stage, all that changed, the audience was dancing and the projected lava lamp-style moving images, which dissolved in to Art Nouveau and 60s psych posters on the backdrop helped the club feeling. Also known as the frontman of Big Boss Man, Nasser moved effortlessly between organ, synthesiser, bongos, drums and xylophone and his band displayed similar versatility. He’s a true multi-instrumentalist and the jazz/funk stylings of the tracks, with occasional Latin beat influences, is truly infectious.
Aries and Scorpio, Ritmo Do Rio and Mr Woo, which saw all five band members on a variety of percussion,
all superb, while Bert’s Jazz, Octavius and Googa Mama all kept the pace going and the audience moving.
The swirling lights and rhythms worked in harmony to enhance the beat club vibe and his many fans clearly loved every minute.
The Bongolian is a local music legend who puts on a fascinating and impressive show.