Review: Snarky Puppy thrill London’s O2 Academy Brixton

It’s Snarky Puppy‘s biggest show in London playing to a crowd of 5,000. Sold out and queuing around the block, Snarky fans old and new clinch their tickets in excitement.

Snarky Puppy pull in a mixed crowd; fans in their 40s and 50s who have rushed from work, joined by university students, teachers and young musicians.

House of Waters open with a funky fusion and are warmly received. It’s just three guys; a drummer, a bassist and a hammered dulcimer bringing African jive and South American groove to the fore. Heads are bobbing, lots of cheering and applause. Tongues are wagging as House of Waters become London’s new favourite band.

Becca Stevens is spell-binding; Brixton goes silent and watches and listens with close attention upon her first note. You could hear a pin drop. Stevens performs Regina on ukulele; the crowd chatter and are flabbergasted. All of a sudden, Jacob Collier walks on and the place erupts. Collier plays keys, guitar and uses a voice changer on Both Still Here. Michael League makes three a crowd and plays bass on Lean On. The set goes by so quickly, almost within the blink of an eye. Time flies when you’re having fun! They finish with As by Stevie Wonder and the whole crowd sings “ALWAYS”.

An hour later, fans become impatient and plead for the Snarky Puppy to start. Late to the stage, but well worth the wait! A very laid back but precise performance from the Puppy, who open the set with Beep Box and play songs from Culcha Vulcha, extend them, jam and work with the crowd to clap and keep rhythm. Roars aplenty for Bill Laurence on keys, and Larnell Lewis shows us his magic on the drums. Lewis treats us to an impressive solo on What About Me?; Michael League keeps the rhythm on bass and spurs Lewis on. Laura Mvula makes a surprise appearance, shares the spotlight and treats us to a song. The night closes with the big favourite Lingus; every fan sings the tune and shuffles their feet with infinite energy.

Snarky are at the top of their game.

Words by: Tom White

Snarky Puppy have just rounded up their UK dates. Add them to your favourites on to be one of the first to know when they are back in town.