London’s premier gypsy swing group pull out all the stops for another blistering set
While this might not appeal to everyone, watching a band sound check yield secrets to the inner workings of the band. On Thursday evening I went to Old Mary’s and watched Swingatto. Our party arrived early and after a drink in the Mitre, we went down to get a good spot for the band. As we arrived they were running through the sound check. Guitarist Antonio Feula was giving his fingers a work out. What was striking about this warm up was first the speed that he played. I haven’t seen fingers that fast since the last metal night I went to. The second striking thing was how he looped everything he played to create a complete song. Live looping isn’t anything new to me, but it was the deftness of his playing that really stuck a chord. A few chord runs here, a little solo there, knocking the guitar for a beat and you have great track that Feula then played over to get ready for the set.
At 8, after the sound check was over, Feula accompanied by Matt Dibble on clarinet and Miko Ambrogini on double bass got going. The set consisted of covers, and original compositions. At times it was hard to tell what was original and reimagined covers. Having seen Swingatto before what impressed me this time was how the songs slowed more smoothly. The last time we’d seen them they were great, but in those intervening months a change had occurred. They seemed more at ease and were really enjoying playing those songs. The other change was the crowd. Last time there were only 8 of us, this time Old Mary’s was packed, and they had come to see Swingatto. After each song thunderous applause erupted.
I’m looking forward to when Swingatto will return to Old Mary’s, as it feels like their spiritual home, and they complement each other perfectly. As Old Mary’s is a low lit basement bar, the acoustic sounds of Feula, Dibble and Ambrogini’s gypsy swing go hand in hand with its ambience. Whether you looking for a hearty drink and some uplifting music, a quiet supper with some engaging music, or you just want to leave the house on the Thursday, this band and venue will be able to accommodate you perfectly!