By: Amy Grace
22 February, 2018, 11:30
A night fuelled with funky floor fillers, glittering synth riffs and a hefty amount of reverb; Tungz’s single launch at The Canteen felt like a scene from a 70’s funk night. The only thing missing was a disco ball. In celebration of their latest single ‘Window Love’, Tungz played a shimmering set of feel good tunes which were impossible not to dance along to. The close knit quartet have cemented their groove on the Bristol music scene, leaving a trail of funky beats and a healthy following.
A technical difficulty was triumphantly filled by band member Nicky Green. Ringing out the longest note ever heard from a keyboard, he announced “It’s just gonna be this for 45 minutes, then we might do something a bit more atmospheric”. The front row chuckled and instantly sold by Nicky’s charismatic demeanour. The crowd instantly warmed up to them.
Opening with the punchy ‘Do U Like It’, a glam disco headbanger which got everyone grooving. The mind-blowing synth intro was interstellar and tantalizing, heightened by a catchy riff and a toe tapping bass line. A drum and bass breakdown from Rick Holland and Ollie Horne left me lingering for more, however it was soon followed by dual vocals from Nicky and guitarist Jamie Maier. Their back and forth style of sharing the vocals is reminiscent of Hall and Oates but with the pizzazz of Earth, Wind and Fire. ‘Do U Like It’ is a beast of a song; it’s ridiculously catchy groove will have you humming it the entire way home.
‘Fruit’ then followed it’s funky predecessor. A poppin number with plenty of force which will make you jolt and jive. A swirling synth with overriding rough riffs, reminiscent of an interstellar odyssey which was truly out of this world. This then transitioned into an instrumental disco jam which gave frontman/synthman Nicky an opportunity to flaunt some funky moves as well as producing some illustrious synth sounds. Positioned on the right hand side of the stage, Rick’s offbeat fills and effortlessly cool playing was insane to watch. He even had time to twirl a drumstick in between his fingers during this funky jam.
New material then ensued, with dreamy number ‘Doing Nothing’. A fun loving tune with a whimsical middle section, consisting of otherworldly synths and Beach Boys meets Badfinger vocal lines between Nicky and Jamie. The pair exchanging these vocals is like watching a tennis match. An abrupt ending leaving the audience stunned and lingering for more, I long to hear this song performed live again. The night also featured a few reworked covers which could’ve easily passed as their own material. Dare I say it was even better than the original. Performing their own twist on ‘Beastly’ by Vulfpeck which featured an incredible three bass solos from Ollie, with the other guys having their own solos in between these (quite literally) beastly bass solos. Joe Dart better watch this space.
Next up came ‘Clean Living’, “an old tune for die hard fans” states Jamie a deep, bellowing synth intro fills the room. A broody and mysterious start (seriously, where’s the smoke machine?) then picks up with flourishes of Nicky’s reverbed vocals, elevating the song to new heights. An instrumental middle section was alluring and tantalizing, I was on the edge of my seat (only I was standing but you get the jist) waiting to hear more funk and soul. A blend of Michael Jackson, Daft Punk and Kool and the Gang makes ‘Clean Living’ a filthy and hip tune. The crowd cheering and applauding, followed by Jamie saying “we’re playing the oldest songs in the newest ways”.
A cover of Daft Punk’s ‘Something About Us’ suited the bill and followed up well from ‘Clean Living’. A melancholically funky rendition with a flavoursome synth. The song then spiralled into ridiculous antics from the boys, with Jamie dramatically singing the chorus as if it were a plea for his lover, then intensified with Nicky adding tons of reverb to his mic. This got everyone laughing and cheering and is a prime example of Tungz’s infectiously charming stage presence. A funky instrumental called ‘Screggs’ (interesting name choice) then followed the camaraderie. The heavy riff and repetitive synth was magnetic, their body language and charming demeanor made it feel as though I was in their front room watching a jam session. I simple wrote in my notes ‘glittering’.
Then came feminist power ballad, ‘My Baby Can Stand Being Alone’. A heavenly intro demonstrating the range of Jamie’s vocals, going from a Little Richard howl to trademark Michael Jackson. A Santana-esque solo accompanied by tender lyrics such as
‘no need to split the cab fare / I’ll go back home alone again’. ‘My Baby Can Stand Being Alone’ is a powerful and gut-wrenching ode that’ll make you tingle. A smooth soul jam interlude then followed, another fine example of their dynamic stage presence.
More straight up funk then followed, ‘Locked In Your Love’ is totally electrifying. Beginning with Nicky’s vocals and thrilling synth, things then got cranked up a notch as Rick’s solid drum beat joined followed by Ollie’s alluring bass line and Jamie’s rough and ready riff. Nicky and Jamie’s trademark back-and-forth vocals were captivating and truly shone in this track.
Then came the pinnacle of the night, a stunning rendition of their latest single ‘Window Love’. A sweet ode demonstrating their ability to write delicate lyrics such as ‘I let these feelings out / when I choose / that I want to’. An all encompassing synth masterpiece, ‘Window Love’ is a touching tune with flourishing outro which was the highlight of the night. A lyrical exchange between Nicky and Jamie followed by a drum fill, the finale being the word ‘life’ being cast into the stratosphere with all four joining in unison. It felt like I’d seen daylight for the very first time.
Sadly the night was drawing to a close, ending with the horrendously catchy ‘Touch’. A solid groovy tune which is guaranteed to make you move. The addictive riff and repetitive outro lyric will be stuck in your head long after the gig has finished. The audience roared with applause with Tungz and the fact they were giving away homemade donuts at the end! Not only was their set incredible, they even provided refreshments at the end. Tungz are your next favourite band.