Live Review: Livestock with Jack McNeill and Donkey Zoo

“On 13 February I spent four hours in Fibbers rocking out to the sound of Benjamin Turner’s dissertation…”

Photo Credit: Roosa Päivänsalo

Photo Credit: Roosa Päivänsalo

On 13 February I spent four hours in Fibbers rocking out to the sound of Benjamin Turner’s dissertation. As strange as it sounds this body of work took the form of the much anticipated Livestock club night, headlined by Turner’s blossoming jazz/funk/hip-hop/dance fusion band Donkey Zoo.

The night kicked off at 11pm with a premiere electronic set from student producer/DJ Jack McNeill. He artfully smoothed the the inflating crowd’s entry into the main room with an entrancing but short-lived mix of dreamy electronica. McNeill showcased a totally original set of his own brand of downtempo dance music. With hints of glitch and hip hop and some tasty 808 beats knocking about, its something you’ll have to hear for yourself if you haven’t already. He ended his set with his chilled out debut single ‘me+u (feat. Sur)’.

Donkey Zoo launched in to their two hour set at midnight with one of their first songs, ‘Stale Oats’. The punchy repeating riff on this one had the crowd immediately transfixed – Sam Johnson’s liquid tenor sax solo was an instant highlight. The soulful voice of Tristan Landymore joined in for a smooth cover of ‘Made Up Love Song no.45’ by The Marzec Group. The band showed off some impressive new material, with the two percussionists Will Edwards and James Woods having a vigorous drum off with the whole band playing along and working off each other.

Kirsty Hughes was a powerful addition, singing a beautiful cover of Banks’ ‘Warm Water’, which proved a real crowd pleaser. The improvisational prowess of all the band members was wonderfully showcased, as they jammed around this tune. Turner’s synth solo on their song ‘Perpetuation’ was spectacular, and added a smattering of comedic value to the performance as always. As the night went on Donkey Zoo’s act became more and more spontaneous, as Turner led them on a jam of epic proportions with some cheeky well-known melodies popping into the mix.

Photo Credit: Roosa Päivänsalo

Photo Credit: Roosa Päivänsalo

Towards the end of the night James Woods left his bongos to move centre stage and start rapping in a killer addition to one of their new songs, ‘Fire’. Donkey Zoo closed their set with their stirring ballad ‘Indigo’, the perfect tune to end the night. As the song dropped into the fast rhapsodic section, the Fibbers dance floor was almost too much to handle. After that there was no way that Turner and his crew were getting away without providing an encore, and that’s just what they did, with every band member adding their own personal sign off solo. The brilliant members so far not mentioned finally got their say here – Dan Watts on trumpet, Marco Basaglia on guitar, Tim Russel on bass, and Phillipe Cato on keys. The competent DJs of Breakz deserve a mention for doing a great job of translating the energy in Fibbers with a polished set of funk and afro-beat rhythms to play out the night.

Livestock was a huge success, and was masterfully put together by Ben Turner.Donkey Zoo triumphed in their aim of playing in their free funky jazzy style and making it relevant in a club setting, and I’d love to see more of these kind of live music club nights in the future that they are pioneering.

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