Friday 22 February 2013

Chico Chica - Cult Classic

Tom Hannah - 'A Scientific Fact'
We didn't see the best side of the genre hopping trio Chico Chica this week (19/02/2013) at The Green Carnation, Soho. In fact it was very hard to see any side of this dynamic group of multi-instrumentalists. Through no fault of their own they performed in a state of near darkness, illuminated only by a throbbing kaleidoscope of colour projections. They worked hard to make it an enjoyable night for the motley crew of foreign drifters and snogging fellas who were enthusiastic about the night's entertainment. More than once I heard a 'So cool' in a thick Spanish twang.

It was mostly latin and jazz standards with Barbara Snow's rendition of 'Berimbau' a stand out. As professionals they had assessed their audience, jettisoned their own tunes and adapted the repertoire. Perfectly correct, but it left me frustrated when we saw glimpses of their originality and brilliance later in the evening. When we did get the chance to encounter the full Chico Chica experience I was spellbound.

The night hinged on one tune. Tom Hannah stood up, dusted himself off and with microphone in hand started with spoken word. The deep green light bounced off the chartreuse walls and Hannah's happiness monologue interrupted Soho's murmur of murky gossip.
Barbara Snow

The tune, 'A Scientific Fact', expresses Hannah's own view that it's "daft that people use science to state the obvious". He was sensational as he subsequently dropped his microphone and hit the dancefloor with a flurry of finger-clicks and moonwalks. By stepping out into the audience he made us all uncomfortable and equally mesmerised, and it was only after the finale when Tom Hannah sat down that you realised you hadn't blinked for a full 5 minutes. There's every chance that this routine will become a cult classic in the style of Christopher Walken's cameo in 'Weapon of Choice' (Fatboy Slim).

Alas the brightest star in the evening quickly diminished,
but there is good news on the horizon because Chico Chica are busy preparing for a new album (their 2nd). In fact Barbara Snow has written more than 20 tunes in preparation, so my desires will be fulfilled.
Hilary Cameron

How I wish I could have heard these original compositions at The Green Carnation. I did though find comfort in the voice of Barbara Snow, the dancing of Tom Hannah and the hypnotic eyes of Hilary Cameron.


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