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Ensemble troubadours, The Magic Tombolinos*, led by founder, vocals and stax of sax, Alejandro Toledo, brought their celebratory eclectic mongrel mash up genre-busting, idiom defying music to The Hare this evening. And what fun it was and full on credit to promoters, ‘World Unlimited’ for their ever valiant, non-profit making ethos of lending deserved support for all manner of diverse artists.

With their inimitable eccentricity The Magic Toms provided their own support – literally, playing two sets because the booked support were entangled with transport problems. So, with a crash-bang wollop from their latest drummer and weedy, veggie accordion keyboards (he goes animal later) Maurizio Pala, they set the world music compass spinning in delicious delirium. The set list is jettisoned pretty soon into Act 1 so there’s no point referencing. Anyway, try reading Spanish handwriting in the dark, in crayon by a musician! And their yellow warning triangular stage banner logo was intriguing with a sort of cryptic take on the Amnesty candle and barbed-wire. ‘No, my friend,’ it’s explained, ‘it’s a table footballer with his head on fire. It’s a joke, si?’ Ah! (I think he was from Barcelona).

Alejando Toledo’s vocals can broadly be approximated to Shane McGowan gargling battery acid with a romantic, Flamenco flourish. Oh, and perhaps with a nuance of wry resignation similar to Eli Wallach playing ‘Tuco’ in ‘The Good, The Bad etc’ when Clint Eastwood pisses in his bathwater. Which is a serious Il Bastardo of a thing to do. They play a ‘Special Spanish song – the more you dance, the better we play.’ Imagine Matador Ska with Iberian Dub-Step to a slightly Metal Tango. The first set is about to climax when – just like lightning, everything gets frightening and it turns in to a Balkan Blitz.

Set 2 includes hypnotic, lyrical flavours of Jim Morrison’s dreamy album of Iberian romanticism ‘Waiting For The Sun’ with subliminal references to ‘Spanish Caravan’ (itself drawing on riff from Issac Albenz’ ‘Asturias) and the acapella ‘My Wild Love’. Sort of conquista-Doors if you will. (Toledo wears tight leather trousers!) We heard a sultry Parisian flair set against a slightly Kurt Weil sounding tango lament quite possibly titled ‘El Thingy Whatever’. Whilst ‘2012’ was a ‘Sabre Dance’ Gypsy Rap augmented by some crucial slab bass from Michele Montolli.

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The encore calls were received with genuine surprise and humility (yeh, guys, milk ‘em rotten) and they proceeded to go nuclear mental with Tom Waites and Zorbra The Greek on stage, in spirit, jamming to a frenzy. Heart lifting fun for consenting adults.

‘La fe mueve montañas.’ * v. (Ita) ‘tumble-down, ramshackle, fall to the ground’…which makes sense, really.

Setlist: Vera Cocek, Los Peces, Dessert(sic) Rain, Tsiganeasca, Bravo, War On Mars, Selim 2, Red Balloon, Maharaja, Manea, 2012, Duj Sandala, Banatzeana, Maychacha (My Sashka), Macedonia, Balkan Tango: (encores) Fanfarian, Offsprunt, La Vida, Magic Sax.

Live Music Review and Photos by John Kennedy

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