Talking Heads, Southampton

Tankus The Henge

Outside, Winter has really set in. As I’m travelling down the faithful M27 motorway, the temperature gauge in the car dips below freezing. A warm welcome awaits at Southampton’s Talking Heads who tonight; with the help of the local Mirrorman Promotions have got Tankus the Henge with their much-anticipated return to Hampshire, as part of their “You Can Do Anything” 16 date UK tour.

The first of the two supports are Skaraman; an acoustic pair who arrive on stage at 7:45pm with plenty of audience enthusiasm getting the evening underway on a positive note. The duo of Mike Yates on Guitar/Vocals and James Ryan on Upright Bass play some thought-provoking Reggae/Ska-infused tunes with a message. With their matching shirts, the guys really entertain with some skilfully delivered musicianship. There is a tune entitled “Daily Fail” about the inimical racism that this country suffers, while unemployment and homelessness are covered in a locally inspired tune called “Docker to Dosser”. The band end with a great upbeat danceable tune called “Barriers” which includes a nicely sung hip-hop style chorus. Mike and James leave the stage with plenty of noise from the appreciative audience.



Next up are six piece Southampton band Mad King Ludwig and the Mojo Co; who describe themselves as a “combination of many, from urban Funk to rural Blues”. They arrive on the Talking Heads stage and undoubtedly inject a real energy into the evening. Combining twin electric guitars with keys, bass and drums the band create a totally original sound. The saxophone-wielding frontman Bavarian monarch Mad King Ludwig looks a little like Justin Hawkins in his one piece trouser gold suit and has a distinctive deep voice that is a cross between Tom Waits and Nick Cave. You cannot help but be drawn into their madness with infectious soul-enhancing songs like “Take Your Partner by The Foot” and “Charlie Brown Blues”. Ludwig at one point disappears into the crowd, handing out small handwritten envelopes with free music for the lucky few. They are colourful, entertaining and really impress with a set full of memorable highlights.

Mad King Ludwig
Mad King Ludwig 123

The Talking Heads audience has now swelled very close to full capacity as the intro music starts heralding arrival of the main attraction. “Tankus” always seem to pull a good crowd in this part of the world with much of the audience taking the journey across the Solent from the Isle of Wight. Frontman Jaz Delorean flashes his infectious smile and gets a huge welcome from the excited crowd. The band kick off with a few new tunes including the very upbeat “Glitter Lung”; which is about death of the Soho nightlife, and a condition that performers used to get from breathing in glitter. They then head into much more familiar territory with “Weather” and a right London knees up with “Cakewalk”, which really gets the crowd singing along at the tops of their voices.

Tankus The Henge
Tankus The Henge 1234

Tankus is a band that is very hard to pigeonhole as they have a complete mixing pot of influences which they combine together to make such an original, entertaining sound. There’s a mix of jazz, funk, old school music hall, folk, rock, blues and soul, along with a whole lot of fun and copious amounts of energy. They use electric guitars, along with rhythm, a two-piece brass section and Jaz’s considerable skills on his specially modified piano. The motivational tune “You Can Do Anything” sees Jaz leaving the stage and joining the audience in the middle of the dance floor for a rousing sing-a-long of the infectious uplifting chorus.

For the first time this evening the momentum slows a little for a new song called “Rain on a Sunday”, a beautiful tune with just Tim Fulker’s acoustic guitar and Jaz on piano with the simple but effective lyrics “Nothing like rain on a Sunday, to get you in a Monday sort of mood”. The endearing “Smiling Makes the Day Go Quicker” has a mind drilling lyric that once heard you will never forget. Once again a lovely unified sing-a-long happens with every person in the place joining in, including the bar staff. The band are not allowed to leave the stage without their well-earned two-song encore. It’s not easy at this time of year with freezing temperatures outside, to get an audience out of their living rooms and into a music venue. Tankus do this with ease and they even create a summer festival vibe and have the audience dancing right until their last note is played.

Set List
Electric Eyes
Orange is the new Black
Last Night in New Orleans
You Can Do Anything
Last Days Are Coming
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Rain on a Sunday
Reoccurring Dream
Smiling Makes the Day Go Quicker
Life is a Grim Tale (Sometimes)
Long Long Year



Words, Pictures, and Videos by Dave Chinery

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace