Comedy review: The Mighty Boosh Band, Cargo, London

Cargo, London

Julian Barratt's pop tunes, jingles, mood music and parodies add an essential richness to cult comedy series Mighty Boosh; it would undeniably be a lesser show without them. So here they are in Shoreditch's cutting-edge Cargo, warming up for the Mighty Boosh festival (featuring the Charlatans and Polar Bear among others), just as if they were a real band.

They are backed by drummer Dave Westlake, bassist Reg and percussionist Jay Moose (Boosh-mate Dave Brown, who plays Bollo the gorilla). Less musically competent guests include Naboo (Michael Fielding) and several characters played by Rich Fulcher, who suffers the sweltering night in a teat-covered rubber head known as The Funk.

Our heroes take the stage dressed as pirates for a cracking Future Sailors, which sounds like authentic 1980s electropop. Barratt straps on his guitar for Electro Boy, Mutant and the gobby anthem from the episode Journey to the Centre of the Punk, while Fielding, in glittery threads, charms the audience: "You're all crammed up like a Guess Who? game." When he exits for a costume change, Barratt and the band play a swinging jazz version of the punk anthem - scatological scat.

Barratt leads the band through rock, funk, dub, rap and miscellaneous electro nonsense, encoring with the heavy metal Nanageddon. Fielding's "Vince Noir", basking in everyone's love, is the Mick to Barratt's Keef.

As a band, the Mighty Boosh are as disruptive as hardcore improvisers and as tunefully silly as 1980s revivalists. It helps to know the cult BBC3 series, but even a random fan wandering in from the Hoxton streets would realise that they take their silly music seriously.

· The Mighty Boosh festival is at Hop Farm, Tonbridge, today. Details:


John L Walters

The GuardianTramp

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