• Robbie McGrail

The Comet Is Coming (Live Review) - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 3rd December 2019

Updated: Dec 15, 2019

The Comet is Coming, composed of ‘King Shabaka’ (Shabaka Hutchings), ‘Danalogue’ (Dan Leavers) and ‘Betamax’ (Max Hallett), brought their characteristically cosmic-infused jazz and electronica sound to the Brudenell Social Club on Tuesday 3rd December. Alongside Leeds, their tour has taken them to venues such as Gorilla in Manchester, Concorde 2 in Brighton, and the 02 Shepherd’s Bush in West London.

2019 has been a great year for the trio with the release of two successful projects: ‘Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery’ in March and ‘The Afterlife’ in September. Their Brudenell performance featured many tracks from these two albums including the heavy tracks like ‘Summon the Fire’ and ‘Super Zodiac’ from the earlier album, to their softer tones in ‘The Afterlife’.

The Comet is Coming are unique in today’s jazz scene, and differ to Hutchings’s other outlets, such as Shabaka & The Ancestors and Sons of Kemet, with their fusions of electronica and psychedelia, spiritual jazz. Shabaka has taken the Afrofuturist vision of the likes of Sun Ra, Lonnie Liston Smith and Pharoah Sanders and taken it into the scene of the now. Dance music, in particular, has complimented the jazz aspect perfectly, with elements of techno, house and minimalist disco at its backdrop.

After the fantastic warm-up set from Leafcutter John (John Burton), who played an electronica set with his own light-sensitive hardware, The Comet is Coming came on before a fully packed Brudenell Social Club.

Immediately the band’s energy was at a high level with the groove being set by the synths and drums of Dan Leavers and Max Hallett respectively. Those two as the rhythm section create a breed of dance music and jazz (or head-banging jazz) that meets its zenith with the saxophone of Shabaka Hutchings. His melodic runs were sharp, quick and repetitive and earn him a unique place in the jazz scene of today.

The choice of the Brudenell Social Club as a venue was an interesting one, as similar artists are more likely to be found at Belgrave or Headrow House, but the venue catered well for it, providing the intimacy needed to be immersed in the trance-like state of their music. The gig came to a close after nearly two hours of homages through the band’s old tracks and newer grooves.

The Comet is Coming look set to continue making new records and produce more from the sound they have raised. They prove that jazz belongs to actively listening audiences, to clubs, halls and festivals, and not just to the jazz bars the genre was previously restricted to.

Jazz is most certainly back in the minds of music fans from the likes of The Comet is Coming of London, to across the Atlantic with Kamasi Washington in the US. In the UK scene, however, there are few outlets quite like the trio who performed at the Brudenell in early December. With electronica, dance music and jazz, The Comet is Coming provide something for all modern ears to find joy in.

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