Live review from Underground 96:
1. Wa Wa Wa
2. Au Go Go
3. Old Pot Makes Good Rice
4. I’m Unsatisfied (Cover of a Cambodian singer)
5. Cha Cha Cha
By the time CSP was up, the crowd had swelled considerably; good thing, too, because they were really worth watching. With the drummer’s pink coat, the variety of hats on display on the band-members, the Noel Redding-looking livewire of a bass player, and their striking singer Srey, they were as much a visual spectacle as they were a sonic experience. The groove began right away with Wa Wa Wa, with its sort of rural, dancy mood (courtesy the accordion), and cheeky-sounding vocals, making all present begin to sway immediately. The guitars were excellent throughout, having a very bluesy sound, yet played with a light touch so that the cumbersomeness that usually accompanies the blues was absent, giving their sound a very enjoyable freshness. The solos and riffs could have spilled off the guitar of Mark Knopfler in their ease. There was some stirring harmonica onAu Go Go, while a version of the Troggs’ Wild Thing riff featured on Old Pot.
It was tremendously clear how much these guys love playing music – from the Srey’s dancing (which compelled you to join in as well) to the drummer and bassist feeding off each others’ energies, they were as involved in the music as anyone else. (All this, despite their packed schedule shooting for a video, and playing 3 consecutive nights!) There was good-‘ol rock ‘n’ roll in the songs’ as well, especially the blistering solo on 16, dubbed “a melting pot of all their Western influences”. Sadly, the set had to end sometime, and it did so to each instrument booming in its own way, while people danced like crazy in the front. Apparently, their sets usually are much longer and more free-form, with 10 or 11 people playing; one could certainly imagine this happening, as the dynamic was very much the-more-the-merrier. Perhaps, if Gogol Bordello played the blues, they might happen upon the territory that CSP just blasted off from. ‘Till then, keep watching the skies for any sign of these orbiting rockers.