Gideon Conn stands in front of the Band on the Wall crowd towards the end of his set, strumming his guitar and asking for more volume through his monitor. “Can I have more guitar please?” he asks the sound dude, strumming away, “more please” he says, not yet satisfied with the level “a truck load more!” He still plucks away not quite happy yet. “You know that scene in Back to the Future where Biff’s car runs into the truck and a whole heap of manure falls on him? That’s how much volume I want – a shit load!” He strums again, the soundman clearly understands and Gideon is happy! “Yeah!” he says, “that’s the mother lode!” as he bounces around like the Easter Bunny.
It’s the official launch of Gideon’s first album “New Bop Sounds” and it’s been a long time coming. I first saw him and his band play in a small tent about four years ago at the Manchester University end of year festival, “Pangea” at the recommendation of my friend Alex G. I was taken aback by what I saw. Forget “Flight of the Conchords” this guy is the Pioneer of the folk-hip hop crossover. That night I didn’t know what to expect but I was in the tent confronted by a chap who would best be described as an accountant.
This accountant, however, had an acoustic guitar and was stood on my level less than a metre away from me. He was looking right into my eyeballs when he staccatoed the first word of his song, “Eccentric” -”IN-TRO-DUC-ING”! This song should now be playing fo you to hear!
In those four years Gideon and his crew have built up an impressive Manchester based following and has people that come to his gigs so regularly that I knows them by his first name.
The energy is high in Band on the Wall tonight as the audience, many of whom are seeing him for the umpteenth time, are celebrating the album release with him. The bigger songs such “I Want you Around” initiate a dance pit in front of the stage whilst the other equally crowd pleasing but slower tunes like “Londonderry” has everyone in a seemingly massive and cosy group hug!
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Gideon would be nowhere without the guys in the band and I always love it and impressed when they all swap instruments, loving the jazz! There seems to be an additional game being played tonight where everone has to wear Gideon’s blue visor. You can play spot the visor in the pictures above. Granted – its not a difficult game but it should see you entertained for literally seconds!
As well as the regular band they are joined on stage by Josephine Oniyama, a long time collaborator and friend, and spreads her angelic voice on stage for the short time that she is there. A big surprise in the set come with the inclusion of the Outkast classic song “Ms Jackson” in a version that is pretty much indistinguishable from the original and took the end of the song for me to realise what had just happened.
During “Eccentric” Gideon’s boundless energy is turned up to “11” as hi dives into the crowd, hugging, dancing and singing with everyone in a 5meter radius.
I didn’t have any decent recordings of his before that the album launch but I made sure to buy the CD from the merch stall as I left Band on the Wall, grinning like a fool!