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Moscow Drug Club an antidote to a chilly, wet evening

Moscow Drug Club at Arlington Arts, Snelsmore, on Sunday, November 26.
Review & pictures by BRIAN HARRINGTON

Moscow Drug Club at Arlington Arts Pic: Brian Harrington
Moscow Drug Club at Arlington Arts Pic: Brian Harrington

Cool, sophisticated, smooth jazz with a hint of blues, along with world influences from Spain, France and more were the ideal antidote to a chilly, wet Sunday evening.

With a set-list combining their own compositions and re-arrangements of classic songs from across the decades Moscow Drug Club put on a fascinating and, at times, very informative show. With Arlington Arts laid-out with 'cabaret tables' in what is more often the standing area the jazz club ambiance set the scene beautifully.

Opening with Jezebel, a track written by American songwriter Wayne Shanklin, which was a big hit for Frankie Laine in 1951, but later covered by Sade among others, the musical credentials of Moscow Drug Club were instantly clear. Their arrangement featured some wonderful Spanish style trumpet, paired with expressive vocals.

The whimsical and saucy Eartha Kitt track Mink Schmink, originally released in 1954 and Peggy Lee's The Gypsy With Fire In His Shoes followed, before the first original composition Voodoo Queen Of New Orleans, which remembers Marie Laveau who (depending on your beliefs) was either a voodoo priestess or a herbalist and healer. Tourists to New Orleans can still visit her house.

Moscow Drug Club at Arlington Arts Pic: Brian Harrington
Moscow Drug Club at Arlington Arts Pic: Brian Harrington

As the evening continued the audience was treated to a diverse range of songs originally by artists such as Tom Waites, (A Jockey Full Of Bourbon), Jacques Brel (The Port Of Amsterdam) and The Andrews Sisters, (Strip Polka).

I loved their own composition Serpentine which was inspired by Kipling's Jungle Book and the story accompanying the Louis Armstrong number Old Man Mose (Is Dead) which recalled a meeting between Armstrong and Richard Nixon in 1958, before Nixon became president. At the end of a plane journey Armstrong asked Nixon to carry one of his many bags, Nixon obliged, saying he'd be honoured. Armstrong later revealed the bag contained 3.5 pounds of marijuana.

An excellent evening finished with another Peggy Lee hit Manana.


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