Gig review: Basement Jaxx, Edinburgh

WITH almost 15 years having passed since their first album emerged, fortysomething London dance duo Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe find themselves at an odd juncture in their career.

Basement Jaxx: Carnivalesque style. Picture: Facebook

Basement Jaxx - Picture House, Edinburgh

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On the one hand, they fall into the perhaps unwelcome category of “heritage dance act”, a group whose earliest hits very nearly fall under the “retro” heading. On the other, their carnivalesque style is all about the brightness and shock of the new, and rarely works if not played for maximum energy.

As such, there was an odd mix at this relatively intimate show by their standards, with a quick visual poll suggesting the audience was mostly aged between 20 and 50.

The stage show was utterly fantastic, employing banks of strobe lights to illuminate a performing cast which included a three-piece live band wearing what looked like samurai robes doused in neon paint, and a rolling revue of singers, rappers and dancers dressed in similarly gaudy style – the woman in the dress adorned with large, reflective stars was perhaps the most eye-catching of all.

Musically, the set worked best when it was at its liveliest, from chiming new track Back 2 the Wild to the easy strut of Jump ‘n’ Shout and Do Your Thing. More chilled-out breakdowns seemed almost hammered in to allow a breather, including the semi-acoustic intros to Rendez-vous and Romeo, but soulful new song What a Difference Your Love Makes was a highlight. The best came at the end, however, as Buxton’s barked-out Where’s Your Head At and the finale Bingo Bango exploded into life.