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With less than two months between the release of their new album <I°_°I> (aka Robot Face) and their UK tour, Caravan Palace have had little time to establish their new music. But from the first note of their gig at Manchester’s Ritz, 12 Dec, to the moment frontwoman Zoe Colotis waved her last goodbye, the band commanded the attention of their energetic audience.

Colotis wasted no time during the heavily instrumental set, when her vocals were often not required, by unleashing a fury of wild dance moves with real swagger. She is undeniably cool. But unlike a lot of bands, each member of the ensemble got the chance under a spotlight to showcase their broad talents. Outshining them all was electronics/trombone player Antoine Toustou, who jumped off his raised platform at the back to rush to the front of the stage and delight everyone with his fast-paced lindy hop dance routine. Not to be outdone, Colotis joined in and the pair became a spectacle straight out of the Great Gatsby.

This Parisian ensemble don’t just provide a performance but an experience too and even the uninitiated would struggle not to be seduced by them. What other band has a scatting violinist or a clarinet-playing hype man? Their appeal is intangible but broad, attracting everyone from young teenagers to gig-goers who looked like they very well could’ve seen swing music the first time around, but the audience clapped, whooped, and jumped along in happy unity.

Ricky Stack

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