21 Oct 2005
Swing Out Sister live at The Jazz Cafe 
Last night the ten piece Swing Out Sister touring band made a return visit to the Jazz Cafe in Camden, London for the first of a trio of shows. Swing Out, the "internationally renowned jazz-pop duo of 'Breakout' fame" according to the blurb is essentially singer Corinne Drewery and Andy Connell (ex-ACR). These days, Andy prefers to sit out the show itself but he does provide musical entertainment in the form of his DJ set which he runs from his laptop. Corinne herself occasionally DJs, most recently at the Bethnal Green Working Men's Club (according to Corinne on the official website this is "sometimes like a Fellini film, sometimes like a crazy 60's art school party"), but she prefers vinyl to computers.

The Factory connection doesn't stop there either. Corinne sang on ACR's 'Bootsy' from 'Force', around the time when Swing Out was just starting. Percussionist Chris Manis and drummer Mikey Wilson were both in The Jazz Defektors. Derek Johnson (aka Juneroy), brother of Donald (ACR) and Barry (Sweet Sensation), plays bass and also, on one track drums and furthermore toasts like an old pro on another. A three-man brass section (Noel Langley - trumpet, Pete Beachill - trombone, Gary Plumley - saxophone), Dan Swana (keyboards), Tim Cansfield (guitar) and additional vocalists Sylvia Mason-James and Derek Green complete the live line-up.

The setlist combined material from their debut album 'It's Better To Travel' ('Surrender', 'Twilight World' and a gloriously slowed down version of 'Breakout' as the last encore) with selections from their many other studio albums. Several tracks become extended freeform jazz-funk workouts showing off the skills of what Corinne rightly calls her "badass band".

Swing Out Sister play The Jazz Cafe tonight and tomorrow and are then at venues around the UK.


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A Certain Ratio

"Manchester, 1978. In the beginning there were four: Jez Kerr (bass), Martin Moscrop (guitar/trumpet), Peter Terrel (guitar/effects) and Simon Topping (vocals/trumpet). Four thin boys with a name borrowed from a Brian Eno record, the intense, drummerless quartet initially drew influence from Wire, Eno, the Velvets and Kraftwerk, and gained a manager in Anthony Wilson of Factory Records.

"May 1979 saw the release of their first ACR single, the dark All Night Party, although the sound and musicianship of the band would be transformed by the arrival of funky drummer Donald Johnson (DoJo) in August. Over the next few months the band gigged widely, often with Joy Division as part of Factory packages, and recorded demos with producer Martin Hannett as well as a Peel session. Their support slot with Talking Heads on their UK tour in December 1979 set David Byrne on a new course, and provided the compelling live half of their chic cassette package The Graveyard and the Ballroom. Post-punk, ACR now reflected the influence of Funkadelic, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, The Bar Kays and James Brown."

- intro to ACR Biography by James Nice (LTM)

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