The Bombay Royale launched their new album, The Island of Dr Electrico, with a sold out show at Howler on Friday. With support from The Tek Tek Ensemble and DJ Jumps they kept the crowd dancing to their Bollywood soundtrack until late into the night.

The Tek Tek Ensemble were already on stage when I arrived, though I suspect they hadn’t been for long. Their music, spanning and inspired by a countless number of genres and origins, seemed to initially confuse people and kept the audience at a bit of a distance. Dual violinists Carrie Webster and Rachael Kim were both phenomenal while bandleader Paul Dornau took every opportunity to show off his exceptional voice, which I think rivals Mike Patton in both range and versatility. As the set progressed and got weirder and weirder, ironically, the crowd finally seemed to get ‘it’ and they quickly made people understand that the dancefloor was for dancing.

Between sets DJ Jumps span some incredibly funky world tunes while the merch team borrowed some vintage ideas, having uniformed ‘cigarette girls’ wander through the crowd selling CDs and LPs of The Island of Dr Electrico. I couldn’t resist and was happy to trade my cash for a beautiful green 12” record, and I certainly wasn’t the only one.

The lights dimmed and the crowd cheered with excitement as The Skipper and his crew of bandits took the stage and began with the instrumental ‘Falcon’s Landing’. Vocalists The Mysterious Lady and The Tiger joined the rest of the band and instantly got the whole dancefloor jumping to album opener ‘Ankhiyan’ which led straight into the extremely fun ‘Bunty Bunty’. The crowd couldn’t get enough of The Bombay Royale’s Bollywood inspired jams, which was good because they had plenty to get through.

They managed to play every song off the new album and every single one was fantastic live, as expected. Album closer, ‘The River’ was a standout early in the set, the slower number getting the crowd moving in an entirely different groove. Older tracks were also warmly welcomed and as The Skipper introduced ‘Monkey Fight Snake’, The Mysterious Lady and The Tiger left the stage, returning with new costumes for ‘You Me Bullets Love’ and the rest of the set.

No other band, and definitely no DJ, come even remotely close to bringing the party vibes that The Bombay Royale deliver at every show. The entire ensemble exudes energy, getting into their characters and playing up for the audience at every opportunity while easily maintaining their musical brilliance. They are one live act you should never ever miss.

Wes Fahey


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