Sax boss takes the Lovell Stage, and a couple of Friday’s lesser spotted delights
The sun dares to poke its head out just as London saxophonist Nubya Garcia takes to the Lovell Stage. A major player in the London jazz scene, she has recently collaborated with everyone from DJ Yoda to Khruangbin, and launches straight into a 10-minute dub-jazz mash up of ‘The Source’, the title track from her genre-colliding 2020 debut album. Be sure: Garcia’s isn’t music to lounge around to and neither is her band’s, which is made up of musical heavyweights in their own right, like the inimitable keys player Joe Armon-Jones, sought-after bassist Daniel Kasimir, and the dynamic Sam Jones on drums. The energy billows higher and higher as they somersault into ‘The Message Continues’, a grooving expression of dancefloor-inspired jazz, where Garcia’s rabble-rousing lungs thrum against the marrow in your bones, cascading positive energy across the early evening crowd.
Next up in the Nebula are Sarah Nimmo and Reva Gauntlett – aka NIMMO – a London duo producing hands-in-the-air dance anthems aplenty. They saunter out sporting tank-tops, closely shaven skulls and gold chains, ready to offer punters the chance to let go in a cosy space. The beats are big and their attitude even bigger, as the audience whoops while condensation beads form on the roof of the tent. When they play ‘Come Back’, their most recognisable track that harks back to 90s floorfillers, the pair stand proud as if this little tent is Wembley arena. Both NIMMO and the audience look reluctant to vacate the are when their time is called.
A quick changeover, and here comes ONIPA, one of those lesser-known quantities at the festival. There are just a few stragglers present when they start playing though that doesn’t last long. This four-piece tout cosmic highlife thanks to the jangling guitar of Tom Excell (Nubiyan Twist) and the incredible vocal powers of Kweku Sackey, otherwise known as KOG, who switches between melodic vocals, MCing, and a low grumbling that mimics Mongolian throat singing. Warping synths swirl around hard-hitting beats that switch between Afrobeats, broken beat, dubstep and garage, and full props to drummer Finn Booth for his stellar performance. Performing older songs like ‘We No Be Machine’, as well as unreleased cuts taken from their upcoming album ‘Off The Grid’, which is due to be released on Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records this autumn. The tent may have been empty when they arrived, but it’s full to the guidelines by the close of their final track.