The Great Hipster Songbook

Angus Munro and band offer you a medley of ‘Hipster’ songs reimagined as 20th Century Jazz classics. It’s not entirely clear why they do this, but hey – it’s fun, and they play some great music, music you won’t have heard before, and also Biffy Clyro.

A good show, and I hope Munro is back with an expanded run next year.

The band is a four-piece, with Munro on vocals and saxophone, supported by drums, keyboard, and double-bass. Each song is given a brief introduction by Munro and a “Hipster score” out of ten which is a nice touch. The atmosphere is a fun one; people chat, drink, and cheer while Munro enjoys himself onstage. The covers are generally well done. A version of Chvrches’ The Mother We Share (5/10) is nice – Munro sounding incongruously cheery with the line “I’m in misery…”. Strange Powers by The Magnetic Fields (10/10) goes down well: it’s reworked here in the style of a Frank Sinatra song.

Sometimes the covers lose their way. A couple of times the underlying music is fully reinvented in Jazz style while the vocals are performed in the style of the original song, so the crowd is given the impression that they’re listening to two different songs being played at the same time. But generally Munro (and pianist David Patrick who’s responsible for the arrangements) have a good feel for the soul of a song, and manage to keep hold of what’s important to it. The Mountain Goats’ This Year works brilliantly as a rockabilly track: Munro’s version sounds less on edge than the original, more like a manifesto for an angry teenager. A cover of Radiohead’s Burn the Witch manages to recreate that unnerving undercurrent with the double-bass and also injects a manic piano solo from Patrick.

It’s a good show, and I hope Munro is back with an expanded run next year.

Reviews by Matthew Bradley

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The Great Hipster Songbook

★★★
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The Blurb

Four-octave award-winning UK vocalist/saxophonist Angus Munro – alongside a floor-stomping jazz trio – transform the modern classics of Alt-J, Weezer, Ben Folds and more into superbly authentic American standards of the early 20th century.

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