“Recreations. Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager. Friday Night in London. All the ingredients were in place for a great gig, so did it meet expectations?
Following a sparky set from Seán McGowan (long time friend of Sam and well worth checking out), it was time for Recreations. 12 of them (that’s right, you heard correctly, 12?!) squeezed onto the stage at the Brixton Jamm.
First up were a couple of songs from Sam Duckworth’s new album ‘Kingdoms’ that had been released just that morning on Spotify. Backed by the full band, these were punchier than the acoustic recordings, probably more so than Recreation’s last release ‘Beaches Ain’t Shit‘, which boded well for the main part of the evening.
After a brief interlude, Recreations kicked off with ‘Once More with Feeling’ before taking things up a notch with a funked up version of ‘An Oak Tree’, which got the sold out crowd moving.
Recreations proceeded to follow ‘The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager’ track by track, but these were no facsimile renditions of long loved favourites. Each track had been re-arranged or re-imagined in some way. Indeed, I felt Recreations were playing in a more muscular fashion than when I last saw them play this set in Southend last October. I especially liked the extra snap, crackle and pop that the electronics were adding to the Recreations sound.
As the gig progressed, it was great to see Sam looking so relaxed and at ease in this intimate space, which really came through during the show. It’s hardly surprising with 11 colleagues though, it is clear tonight that Recreations is more than a one man band, with the 4 piece brass section taking, literally, centre stage. Add to the mix the happiest drummer I have ever seen, keeping things tight with the rest of the rhythm section and a special mention to Katie the violinist, who performed a stunning rendition of ‘If I had a £1….’ with Sam. The Chronicles section of the show concluded in the best possible fashion with ‘The Chronicles …(Part 1)’ with the crowd in full voice reprising the ‘bah dah bah bah bah’ chants for so long, that Recreations were able to re-take to the stage and pick the song up exactly where they left off.
They finished the night with the opening track on Kingdoms ‘All These Nights’, an encore which signposts to more good times for Recreations. For me, they have gone from strength to strength over the last few months. Even if you saw them at Chinnerys or on Southend Pier last October, you do not want to miss the chance to see this current lineup again at Chinnerys again on 11th February. If this show was anything to go by, then trust me: you do not want to miss it.”