Introducing… The Correspondents
Originally posted on The 405
A few weeks ago when the sun still had it’s hat on during that brief period in Britain known as ‘summer’, I caught up with a friend post-Glastonbury (once he had recovered). The standard question ‘Your highlights?’ I begrudgingly asked through jealous gritted teeth. The immediate and emphatic response was ‘The Correspondents… have you heard of them?’ ‘No’ I replied, as I hadn’t.
He then attempted to describe their sound, and kept throwing about words such as Swing-band, Drum ‘n bass, Dubswing and rearranging them in various orders. I looked at him oddly, but nodded politely as he struggled on. ‘Whatever, if you ever get the chance to see them, just do it’, and he said it with such conviction and an excited look in his eyes I trusted his judgment. And my life. After all, with the vast swath of bands to choose from at Glastonbury and this was his highlight, they must have something.
A couple of weeks later, and I find myself at Lovebox – and sure enough I see the name ‘The Correspondents’ on one of the very small stages – actually a bandstand technically (The Gaymers Bandstand). I took this as a sign (as it was a sign I had read it on) and ventured over to the intimate sunny area at 7:30; And boy, was I in for a treat.
The justification of this personal and somewhat self-indulgent story is this is how I suspect most encounters with The Correspondents begin. Such is the riotous nature and sheer fun of their live shows, word of mouth has spread like a petroleum-induced wildfire, hence promoting them to cult status (whilst regularly doing the festival circuit). There are only two types of people in the world: those who have seen and fallen in love with them – and those that haven’t but will if they do.
The duo of Mr. Chuckles and Mr. Bruce emerged late 2007 in South London, combining a genuinely unique marriage of glorious leftfield activity consisting of the old-fashioned and the modern. Often featured are samples from 1930’s swing music – or ‘big-band’ music if you will – and conjoined with contemporary forms such as Drum ‘n Bass, breaks, drum-loops and a whole manner of DJ-induced sounds. If you are one that insists on labels, probably the best phrase would be ‘Swing-beat’ as The Correspondents have once described themselves.
This synergy is impressive enough on it’s own, but the added MC-ing of the effervescent Mr. Bruce takes them into a new stratosphere. In their live shows Mr Bruce, always impeccably dressed in a three-piece waitcoat suit, rounded spectacles and a jaunty hat, is a tour-de-force. He provides an astonishing amount of energy with surreal but always immaculately timed dance-moves on stage, enjoys climbing the scenery – whilst also being a breathtaking blistering-paced MC. He succeeds in whipping crowds into a rave-fulled fever-pitch, and to the outsider look possessed – though always has them eating out of his palm.
It sounds like they have fallen from the sky such is their unprecedented approach – even throwing in Jungle Book samples for crying out loud; the exchange of delighted glances from audience members mid-set is priceless.
If you’ve seen them you know this already, but it’s perhaps the most fun you will ever legally have.