Gig review: Parov Stelar Band @ O2 Academy Brixton

Jiving jitterbugs took over Brixton’s O2 Academy last night as The Parov Stelar Band transformed the venue into a swing academy.

The packed-out venue was alive with anticipation for one of the last gigs of their The Art of Sampling tour.

Supporting act La Rochelle did an excellent job of heating up the initially chilly Academy, and the main act followed with Austrian punctuality.

Parov Stelar is considered to be the founding father of Electro Swing after his breakthrough in 2004.

He performs internationally as a solo act, in a trio, as well as with his full band.

Soothing visuals of a delicate ballerina twirling to a rhythmical bass were projected onto a large background screen as Stelar and his five band members took to the stage.

It was impossible for a single pair of hips to stay still as the Parov Stelar Band dived right in with hit Booty Swing.

Enthusiastic fans of every age were swing dancing around the Academy, even Charleston-ing all the way to the bathroom stalls.

Singer Cleo Panther delivered a near-perfect performance in her distinctive voice, captivating the audience even when belting out lesser-known numbers.

Trumpet player Jerry di Monza and his colleague Max the Sax (can you guess his instrument?) were equally enthusiastic in rocking the stage.

Unfortunately, Panther had the sole job of keeping the audience’s spirits high in between songs, as her band colleagues kept quiet throughout the performance.

A simple stage set up was adorned by fluid visuals that filled the screens in the background and in front of Stelar’s DJ booth.

The band opted for a mix of their music, alternating between new tracks such as Clap Your Hands with their oldies but goldies Catgroove and All Night, culminating in Mojo Radio Gang that sent the audience into a swing frenzy.

The nostalgic Milla’s Dream was a well-chosen track for the artists to bow out after 90 minutes, as movie-like credits rolled down the screen and were accompanied by roaring cheers from the audience.

Social Media such as Twitter and Facebook was then quickly swarmed with impressed concertgoers calling the performance ‘epic’ and ‘smashing’.

All in all, the evening is best illustrated in the words of a fellow post-concert Londoner: “F***ing awesome!”

Featured image from Katie Chuang, via YouTube, with thanks

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