Imagine you’re wandering through Eastern Europe. You stumble into an alleyway, pop into a bar below an underpass and come across a bizarre, 10-piece brass street carnival band. Then you’ll start to understand what Orkestra del Sol @ Cargo was like. Except in an alleyway on Rivington Street in East London, not Eastern Europe.
Yes, I came all the way to London, just to see a band play off a street named Rivington. But trust me, Cargo is way cooler than the LES spots in NYC. Sorry Pianos and Cake Shop, but it’s true.
Sunshine and I got off the tube at Liverpool Street, a stop I knew well from the couple weeks I spent working in the London office of the company I work for. We caught a quick bus up Shoreditch High Street and jumped off just before Rivington. She used to work at an office around the corner from the venue, and knew the neighborhood well. It’s a pretty great area of town – very EV meets LES, but with an edge to it, still. Unlike said NYC neighborhoods.
Walking into the venue, I’m already excited for tonight’s show. Checking out the Cargo’s digs made me glad I decided to see this show. Cargo is a restaurant, bar and music venue. It’s very dark and cavernous, and there’s an enormous outside patio area with tables, chairs, benches, a foosball table and Shepard Fairey posters lining the inside fence.
Truthfully, I’d just picked this show at random. I heard Cargo was a good spot, checked out the site, saw this band was playing, and from what I’d seen on Orkestra del Sol’s website, they look to be great performers. Plus, this is a style of music I haven’t seen anything even close to yet.
I’m not sure how best to describe theri style. Hmm…I guess they’re a polka-carnival-circus-swing-ragtime-jazz-big band-brass-gypsy type band who at times can sound like “a klezmer band on crack,” as Sunshine put it. To which I nodded in agreement, waited a beat, then asked “What’s a klezmer band?” She rolled her eyes and then showed me later on her iPhone.
Whatever the hell they are, Orkestra del Sol might be the most fun I’ve have at a show in a while. Seriously, if you just want to jump around, clap your hands, dance the polka, even the waltz, smile, laugh and act a fool, go see this band. Go alone. Go with friends. Doesn’t matter. Just go.
Here’s what you’ll get:
A 10-piece band playing the accordion, fiddle, alto sax, tenor sax, clarinet, percussion and sousaphone.
One of the bandleaders in a turban, the other in a fedora (along with most of the rest of the band).
Lots of polka.
A “windup fiddler” routine – meaning, the fiddler stands in the crowd as one of the percussionists “winds him up.” Then, he plays a whole song in the crowd, walking in a straight line until people in the audience change his path. (Yes, I moved him from one way to the other, had to get involved)
A fiddler vs. sousaphone showdown .
Solos from nearly every member.
And basically an inability to resist dancing around and jumping up and down like a fool.
At least, that’s what happened to me. I suggest you do the same.