As a Vangaurd virgin I had no idea what to expect when asked to review guitar virtuosos Urban Gypsies. Promising to offer a “Beautiful mix of fusion guitar compositions from the jazz tradition of improvisation and the rhythmic palette of gypsy, latin and world music”, I was excited and ready for anything.
Almost immediately as we walked into the packed room, the group, comprising of Gavin Libotte (guitar), Dieter Kleeman (guitar), Nic Cecire (drums) and Tina Harris (bass), began a rhythmical journey that went from joyful to melancholy and had me toe tapping straight away. Filled with passion and romance with a dark use of the bass, and a funky latin groove, I found myself briefly wondering if maybe I wasn’t in the middle of Newtown at all, and in fact had been whisked away to a rich and colourful Mexican cantina!
My lack of prior knowledge of this talented group does not mean they are new on the scene. Together for 8 years, they are veterans of the festival circuit and have played at venues including Cargo Bar; The Basement; Hemmesphere; and Café Sydney. They have also supported the likes of Buena Vista Social Club and released 3 albums, the last of which is (a) Beautiful Catastrophe.
The Urban Gypsies were absolutely playing their socks off to a decidedly bored looking audience last night. There was apparently one weirdo up the back doing some interpretive dancing. The bartender and my companion for the evening both agreed this was me! I’m not so sure, but whatever the case, all I can say is … where was the dancefloor?!