Thu, 21 Nov 2019
REVIEW by Brian Harrington: Big Boss Man, at Arlington Arts, Snelsmore, on Friday, November 8
BIG Boss Man is a project fronted by Nasser Bouzida, aka The Bongolian, a keyboardist, percussionist and vocalist with a longstanding connection to the Newbury area. Tonight was a party to celebrate the band’s 21st birthday (21 years to the day since they played their first gig at The Dolphin pub in Newbury). There were DJs spinning original funk, soul and Latin vinyl and, of course, a live performance by the band.
Their sound is strongly reminiscent of all those great 1960s movie soundtracks and they have achieved airplay both on TV and radio internationally, while their track Sea Groove has been streamed more than 3.5 million times on Spotify. Their music has in fact been featured on everything from Come Dine With Me to the World Cup football final. On stage the current four-piece line-up was joined by a couple of previous members for part of the 90-minute high-energy set. With stylish disco-type lighting and a dance area constantly throbbing this was a perfect demonstration of funk/groove at its very best. Tracks drawn from the entirety of the band’s back catalogue, both vocal and instrumental, some of which they had not performed live for more than 10 years, were cranked-out with barely a pause for breath, and to hugely enthusiastic audience reaction.
Last Man On Earth, The Hawk, Sell Your Soul and many other self-penned numbers featured alongside a funk cover of Jimmy Reed’s 1960 blues classic Big Boss Man followed immediately by the band’s own track of the same name. Ending with Beat Breakfast, Everybody Boogaloo and, as an encore Party 7, this was a fitting celebration of a band whose music has achieved massive and entirely deserved success.
Long may it continue!