Got to see “Yellow Blue Bus” at the Wheatsheaf again, this time I took some friends along with me. It’s a bit tricky to know who is going to like Ukrainian folk-rock-jazz-fusion music but my colleagues loved it, as did I. One commented on the quality of the music as being like “listening to a landscape”, which I think is a really apt turn of phrase. It’s very evocative  and atmospheric music at times, without simply being “pastoral”, there’s driving rhythms a plenty, they are a bit fond of horses and cossacks, this lot. On their website, the band describes their music as follows “The Ukrainian word “zletya”, conveying ‘fusion’, literally means “things flying into one place from all directions” This single word perfectly describes the extremely eclectic mix of YBB’s music, so we have adopted “Zletya” to describe the genre of music we play”. This time out the jazz element seemed more out front. Do they have a new drummer? (that would be Dylan O’Brien, I guess he’s from the more westerly end of the Ukraine) Maybe not? Maybe I was just paying more attention to what he was doing this time or perhaps his work was more prominent in the mix. I was only able to stay for the first set, they may have become more “Ukranium” in the second. A good turn out again. The banduras (yep that’s right folks not one but two of the 65 stringed instruments) are the obvious touchstones of the “folk” feel but they are very much ably aided, supported, and sometimes led, by extremely effective keyboards and a variety of hand percussion. Behind the sound is some very sinuous bass playing, acoustic and electric, and a drummer with a very good feel for cymbal work. I listened a lot to the violin, it was very good: at times achingly mournful. The violinist plays a variety of stringed things, (including a travel sized Gibson “Thunderbird”shaped guitar with eight strings (I think) all through a a lot of effects which he puts to great use. There’s a bit of tongue in cheek about the “The Bus”, but it doesn’t detract from what is excellent musicianship.
Certainly look forward to hearing from “The Bus” again soon, and I’m sure my friends will be back for another taste as well. Unfortunately I don’t know of any up-coming shows. I ask you “What’s an Arts Festival without some zletya?”