The Comet Is Coming [Live Review]


Shabaka Hutchings is never far from his saxophone. Since forming his group Sons of Kemet in 2011, he has gone on to play with cosmic jazz legends the Sun Ra Arkestra, Courtney Pine, Ethiojazz pioneers Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics, as well as with his solo outfit Shabaka and the Ancestors.

As if he has time for more projects, Hutchings is also a member of the trio Comet is Coming, along with drummer Max Hallett and keyboardist Dan Leavers. Releasing their first EP Neon Baby in 2015, the band’s debut record Channel the Spirits was nominated for the Mercury Prize last year. Channelling the cosmic influences of Sun Ra, expressed through Leavers’ heavy use of synth effects, the group has built a following based around their high energy live performances.

Promoting their latest EP release, the ominously titled Death to the Planet, the trio took to the stage of a sold-out Heaven. Opening with a lyrical solo from Hutchings which echoed with reverb across the venue’s archspace, it wasn’t long before Leavers, resplendent in a silken hoodie, thrust himself into our ears with a heavy synth line. Hallett soon followed loosely, favouring the wash of cymbals over a kick-snare groove, yet maintaining structure beneath Leavers and Hutchings’ increasingly free-form improvisations.

Read the rest of the review on London In Stereo.

[This piece was published on 31/05/17]