Auntie Flo - Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Sun 13 May
Club-friendly house beats with a world music undercurrent
It’s a foul Sunday night and getting late, with the hour moving near to midnight when Glasgow duo Auntie Flo take their place behind a pod of trestle tables loaded down with kit and cables. The flickering projection behind them bears the legend ‘Night Music’, and what they play really is: a dense, clubby soundtrack which culls the best beats from the classic sounds of Detroit and Chicago. Yet there’s more going on here, a developing world subcurrent that’s deftly handled by bandleader Brian d’Souza, the one in the techy thick-rimmed glasses.
Within a couple of tracks he’s introducing a clanking synthesised steel drum rhythm and a sharp Latin horn stab, while his live partner Esa Williams batters bongos in the background. ‘This is Esa,’ laughed d’Souza after a rare missed cue from the latter, ‘he doesn’t pay attention sometimes but I love him.’ His contention that Williams is ‘the fastest bongo player in Scotland’ was put to the test by an impressive face-off between the pair’s electronic and analogue rhythms, and then their signature tracks emerged: ‘Highlife’, an afrobeat funk with a taut steel pulse at its heart, and the shimmering anthemics of ‘Oh My Days’. It was a feast for the ears and the feet.