On Friday, 13 May 2011, The Paris 1940s made a welcome return to the cellar of The Windsor Club in Leamington Spa. This is a venue they play often and regulars, along with a few new fans, packed into the small basement bar. I hadn’t seen them before, but was already a big fan of their music after hearing/seeing them online. I also knew their lead singer, Thom Kirkpatrick, who probably like the rest of the band, is a performer in his own right. I have seen him do his one-man-band thing many times and he is the perfect frontman!
If you think jazz, your mind could go in several directions - weird stuff that no-one really gets, cool funky piano and sax, a singer scatting, or even the Fast Show! But when you mix jazz and The Paris 1940s, you get a sound that makes you smile as much as singer Thom does! They do jazzy takes on pop songs, such as Mama Do by Pixie Lott, Wonderwall by Oasis and Motorhead’s The Ace of Spades, which is fast becoming a YouTube favourite and is being passed around by the band’s growing fan base.
The five-piece, who are all super-talented musicians (definitely not an overstatement!), come together to create a night to remember - Who can forget the concentration on double-bass player Martyn’s face as his fingers move up and down the neck at top speed, while keeping in sync with pianist Harry. Then there’s Harry himself, who moves between saxophone and keyboard at ease to throw in some solos with guitarist Joe that bring down the house. All this is kept together by drummer Jim, and with jazz, that can be anything from slow swing to the speed of sound!
And then there’s Thom, who’s effortless vocal range is perfect for this style of music - he even sings with himself during at least one song! It takes a lot to record something live and then play back and perform over the top of it. It’s not as easy as it sounds. This is similar to his 21st Century One Man Band project - it needs to be seen!
As well as the music, they’re likeable guys and the night is filled with banter and laughter, making the audience feel part of it all. Other artists to get the Paris 1940s treatment include Calvin Harris and Franz Ferdinand, but I won’t tell you the songs as I want to leave some things as a surprise!
By the end, everyone was up and moving, not all dancing as it’s a little room!, and shaking their thang to No Diggity and a wonderful Lady Gaga medley! See them if you can!