Hot Club De Swing with Electric Swing Circus @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath – Saturday 16th March 2013


This might just be something big. Electric Swing Circus have been savvy and professional in building up a following, not just locally, but nationally. But there’s more – possibly much more – than that, if they play their cards right.


Hot Club De Swing is the brand name for their monthly ElectroSwing sessions at The Hare, and this one also throws forward to their Swingamajig all-day and all-nighter in May. They take over the whole venue: Lindy-Hop in the small room, a live support (Fresh Dixie Project) and splendid DJ support (I loved Sam Redmore’s stuff) backing up the band themselves in the main room.

ESC have a dedicated and enthusiastic following, who like to dance and dress for the occasion. Lots of 20s to 40s dresses, trilbies and waistcoats. I’ve slouched up to the Hare in t-shirt and jeans as usual, and I’m distinctly under-dressed. Guitarist Tom Hyland, who co-manages and throws exuberant shapes on stage, is in his element. He’s also master of ceremonies, and pumps the crowd up throughout the whole evening. This is a proper show!


The music? It’s electro-swing, dummy! A mix of 20s to 50s jazz, lounge, close harmony work, cute samples and thumping, literally breathtaking bass beats delivered though subwoofers turned up to 11. It’s put across with panache and non-stop enthusiasm to a crowd that laps it up. At the start of the set, the crowd is more than happy. By the time they reel out ’Minnie The Moocher’, the core fans down the front are off their heads with excitement. I’m standing back at the mixer and I’m having to dodge flying bodies too.


ESC have a nice proposition on their hands. They’ve done this from a standing start; it’s impressive work. The key is the music mix — as indeed it has been all along, based on the two excellent videos with which they launched their career last year. That might mean a more judicious use of bowel-liquefying basslines — Chandra Savale Walker reeled out some killer work here, but the vocals and Tom Hyland’s guitar work merit an upfront place in the mix as well.


The big trick is to know where to take it next. The package has a fashionable appeal, with a fiercely loyal and growing following. That can turn round and bite you in the bum, but I rather feel that they’ll be just fine.

Review by Robin Valk

Photos by Jenny Bulcraig

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