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  • Miles Hedley

STEAM DOWN at The Albany

Steam Down Collective have already achieved legendary status in south-east London with their barnstorming residency at Deptford nightspot Buster Mantis. Now they are poised for much wider success after recording a stunning live album at the Albany.

If this doesn’t turn the self-styled extended musical family into international stars, there’s no justice in the world.

The collective – the brainchild of sax-player Ahnanse – is not yet even two years old but such is their chemistry that even when there are 14 of them on stage they sound as though they have been performing together for decades.

It helps that every last one of them is an exceptional musician. It also helps that the line-up includes a number of ultra-talented songwriters. But most of all what makes them superstars-in-waiting is their charisma, their energy and their sheer joy.

The live album – due for release later this year – features the collective’s hardcore membership of Ahnanse, keyboard king Dominic Canning, virtuoso drummer Benjamin Appiah, Dwayne Wonky Logic Kilvington on synth bass, vocalists Naima Adams and Andrea And.Is.Phi Phillips, MCs, poets and rappers Brother Portrait and Nadeem Din Gabisi and electronics wiz Tile Le Pere.

They were joined for the recording by violinists Rebekah Reid and Saskia Horton – who also wowed the sell-out audience with an amazing dance sequence - trumpet and flugelhorn ace Yelfris Valdes, trombonist Rosie Turton and guitarist Mark Mollison.

Together they gave us a stonking set that combined soul, funk, rap, jazz and West African rhythms in a fiery cocktail that had the mosh-pit stomping to some of the wildest beats ever heard at the Albany.

I can’t wait to hear the resulting album. And if you can’t wait either, check out the band on YouTube or treat yourself to a European jaunt to see them on their EU tour in Antwerp on March 7, Oslo on March 14, Berlin on March 15, Paris on March 28 and Amsterdam on March 29. Your soul will love you for ever…

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