Camden Town has long had the reputation of being one of the coolest places in London. An area of trendsetters, creatives and hip young things, all on the lookout for something fresh to call their own. As such a veritable smorgasbord of venues in Camden are operational almost every night, catering for mainstream rock acts at Koko, underground metallers at Purple Turtle a range of chart botherers at the Barfly. But there are one or two venues that offer a slightly different experience.
From the outside the Jazz Café looks like a run-of-the-mill venue conversion, but from within it’s a modern, blue-lit bar and stage with very suave clientèle. Sofas full of regulars and revellers face the now empty stage area that will soon be full of 300+ music-lovers for tonight’s sold out special.
Despite headlining the Jazz Café, Denmark’s Quadron don’t bare the hallmarks of Louis Armstrong or Miles Davis, and are often described as neo-soul thanks to their spacey, synthesised vibes and front woman Coco O’s staggering vocal ability. Tonight, though, in the confines of the high ceilinged, contemporary music lounge, the sound works and the capacity crowd are adrift in a sea of eccentric electronica.
Opening on the sublimely minimal ‘Buster Keaton’, London starts to sway to the sound of Coco’s angelic prowess. She stands at the front of the stage with flowers in her hair and a top that resembles chain mail – a juxtaposition in styles that Quadron themselves can relate to. As the funkier songs take the night up a gear, flirting with a Jackson 5-esque boogie, the band rein it in with the slower, more emotive songs in the vein of Little Dragon.
‘Pressure’ soothes in with a downtempo piano and Coco’s mindblowing operatic vocals, that leaves the Jazz Café in a stunned silence, before switching into a Supremes style groover shaker that kick starts the dancing feet of the hypnotised audience. It’s impossible to take your eyes off the stage, particularly the microphone as Denmark’s answer to Yukimi Nagano delivers flawless falsettos with ease.
For the obligatory encore, the neo-soulers try a little their hand at the King of Pop, with their cover of ‘Baby Be Mine’. Admittedly it’s not a song everyone in the venue seems to know, but in terms of musical ability Quadron cannot be faulted. They’ve managed to keep the largely non-singing crowd moving all evening, even instigating a brief bump ‘n’ grind, and it ends with a justly deserved rapturous round of applause. The Danish trio leave with Cheshire cat grins as do the fans rushing toward their bus home. No doubt we’ll be visited again soon.