REVIEW: Hot Club de Swing @ Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath), Fri 21st Mar


Words by Althea Patterson  – follow @TheFoxHuntress / Pics from

It rained, it poured, we waited, we supped. The Chicken Brothers kicked some awesome beats as the Hare & Hounds filled up with those sharply suited and deeply rooted in the era.

Feather boas, head dresses, braces on tailored shirts; mixing with jeans, PVC cat suits and waterproof plus fours – Electric Swing Circus must be around here somewhere, waiting in the wings for another eclectic show.

Electric Swing Circus @ Hare & Hounds / www.electricswingcircus.comAfter what felt like an interminably restless build up, BANG, they were onstage. Lights dipped, tension built, Electric Swing Circus launched into a wonderfully expressive ‘Bella Belle’.

My, how months of gigging had refined their set since seeing them in December, they looked and sounded grown up, tight and instinctive. Singers, Laura Louise and Bridget Walsh, channeling Femme Fatale chic with matching suits, pouts and stylish moves; what verve and saucy pop.

Electric Swing Circus were having fun and it showed. On ‘Swingamajig’ and ‘Big Ol Bite’ their sexier attitude came to the fore – the former mixed up and changed into a dub, making the room heave and shake. Infectious doesn’t do that bassline justice.Chandra Walker /

But they were all on their game tonight, as Rashad, Chandra, Tom and Patrick read each other’s shrugs, raised eyebrows and tapped feet beautifully. A delight to see. As was singer Laura Louise’s one off scatting solo, which reminded me of Jill Scott at her freestyling best and I bloody loved it. It takes faith in your own style to do that and many fall down on it, but not she.

After throwing in some well received new material, Electric Swing Circus performed what can only be described as a devilish take on ‘Everybody Wants to Be a Cat’ – from Disney’s The Aristocats. As the whole circus launched into a James Brown style stage sliding dance, my mate piped up “these dudes need to be at Glastonbury.”

The rest of Electric Swing Circus’ set was an hour of lights, candour and action; although the words don’t do it justice. The zing, the rawness, the fact I went from doing the Charleston one minute to twerking the next, it was just insane.

Laura Louise / www.electricswingcircus.comBut Electric Swing Circus’ extensive musical tutelage also showed, with Brazilian Jazz tings, ludicrous drum and bass lines, foundation crunching dub plates and (most importantly) their energy holding it all together and throwing it out to us to catch. You have to see this band live.

And as their oh-so-slightly rehearsed encore, the rhythm riding ‘Minnie’, sent us bopping onto the mean streets of Kings Heath – we couldn’t help but think we’d just found the best kept secret speakeasy in town. Roll on Swingamajig.

(And thank you Chris. No pen = no review)

For more on Electric Swing Circus, visit

For more on Swingamajg, visit

For further listings from the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath), visit