Gig review: Theo Parrish & Teddy’s Get Down, Glasgow

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“HOW y’all feelin’?” enquired the guy in the light blue fisherman’s hat sitting centre stage behind a keyboard, taking a moment to cool down from a frantic show.

Art School

****

“Who out there’s drunk? Of course – this is Glasgow.” Detroit techno auteur Theo Parrish is well used to the view of the city’s dancefloors from behind a set of decks, but this was the first time he’d played north of the Border with his full live set-up, dubbed Teddy’s Get Down for the occasion.

It was something to behold, mainly because Parrish doesn’t completely jettison the dynamic of club music from an almost entirely analogue performance. He may have made his reputation on the Detroit club scene of the 1990s, but Parrish is a renaissance man, a jazz head in his younger days and an art school graduate. Performed by a five-piece band including sometime Funkadelic collaborator and solo artist Amp Fiddler on additional keys, the show was enhanced no end by a four-piece footwork ensemble, a dance troupe whose lively naturalism was straight from a late-night Detroit dancefloor.

The structure of the show was also like a club set, building through smaller peaks and troughs to a greater release. There was a cover of Stevie Wonder’s Too High, the hypnotic groove of Soul Control and the somewhat meandering Ah (written with fellow Detroit icon Marcellus Pittmann) leading into Changes’ syncopated funk stomp, but the nigh-on transcendental, dance-sequenced club strut of finale Footwork overshadowed everything else on the bill.

(Seen on 16.07.14)