Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns
Cluny II Newcastle
Thursday 10th February 2012
Did you watch the TV series Treme, which was based around the lives of a group of musicians living in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? If, like me you did, you would have fallen in love with the type of music that Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns play.
The exotically tattooed Ms Lake fronts a five piece band that includes a jazz guitarist, a trombone, drums, a trumpet, a sousaphone plus two Lindy-Hop dancers but the show is very much about her distinctive voice as it is anything else.
Meschiya (pronounced Miss-ya) started the evenings’ proceedings with a stomping Bluesy ballad that got the first of the local dancers on to the floor and the show went uphill very quickly from there.
The atmosphere rapidly became quite heady as the fans paid homage to Ms Lake on her first UK visit; but they never let things get so reverential that it stopped them dancing and dance they did; all night long – Lindy-hopping, jiving and if I’m not mistaken I think I even saw a tango at one stage!
When Meschiya sang her slow, soulful and sexy version of Miss Otis Regrets I swear I saw a couple of women blush but the same two let rip on the dancefloor when it was followed with an excitable Hey Good Looking!
At this stage I’ve got to draw attention to the Little Big Horns as they provided a massive musical backdrop for Meschiya to ply her trade; without ever overshadowing the young lady out front and that’s quite an achievement with a rhythm section made up of drums and a sousaphone!
Meschiya proved that she can sing a ballad as well, if not better than the up-tempo dance numbers when she purred the title track of her latest album Lucky Devil in a style reminiscent of the great Bessie Smith and her duet with the trumpet player, On a Coconut Island was as flirtatious as a Friday night in Newcastle’s infamous Bigg Market.
When the set finally ended with a 100mph version of I Get High the crowd literally wouldn’t let the band leave the stage and were rewarded with a beautiful adaptation of the Gospel song Jesus (Walk With Me) followed by one last Blues Belter – I Believe in Music which had the two professional dancers strutting their stuff in the middle of the dancefloor with two lucky locals.
For as long as I can remember I’ve dreamed of walking along Bourbon St and hearing something magical coming from one of the bars and tonight Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns turned a basement club in the Lower Eastside of Newcastle into that fairy-tale N’Orleans Speakeasy for a couple of enchanting hours.
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