Live Review: Watussi, The Strides

20 October 2015 | 4:38 pm | Luke Saunders

"With plenty of dance room and a wonderful array of world sounds, really, what could go wrong?"

The Basement present 'Global Sounds' on Thursday night as a reoccurring theme, introducing reggae and Latin tunes, which surprisingly suited the small and intimate venue.

Reggae through and through, The Strides took the stage first with some strong rocking bass lines. The eight-piece, including trumpet, sax and three singers, decked in reggae beanies and dreads to their toes, played songs including Fresh Lady, which comfortably blends simple lyrics, funky bass lines and a jazzy trumpet solo. Closing the set with Some O' Dem, a ska/reggae jam, the whole Strides crew boogied on stage, now with a solid crowd following step and sufficiently limbered up.

Celebrating ten years of good vibes and musical achievements such as a 2008 ARIA nomination, Watussi took to the stage, led by charismatic Columbian expat, Oscar Jimenez. Watussi are a well travelled nine-piece troupe of Latino-tinged roots-rockers, who happily jammed out, with the brass section often doubling as light percussion. Nonchalantly wearing a 'sex, drugs and mariachi' tee shirt Jimenez had no problem getting the crowd to sing along and occasionally coaxed audience members on stage for a swing of the hips. As the band moved through various songs like Coro Coro and Echale Feugo, extended brass and even bongo solos thrived with the accompaniment of confident sax back-up and relaxed lyrics.

After a short wait Seguimos began a two-song encore. The fast bouncy Latin vibe maintained its energy right throughout the set, and although a fairly drastic change from reggae, it suited the  venue well, reminiscent of a 1920s jazz bar. With plenty of dance room and a wonderful array of world sounds, really, what could go wrong?

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