Bringing something new and fresh to venues across the country, The House and Garage Orchestra blast a huge wave of nostalgia for all fans of the genre.
The House & Garage Orchestra is the creation of old school UK Garage (UKG) producer DJ Shy Cookie & long-term friend &co-producer Ishmael Hamilton. Brighton venue, Concorde 2 was lucky enough to host them towards the end of November and it certainly filled up fast, the crowds drawn in by DJ Shy Cookie’s set of throwback house and garage tunes. Babycakes by 3 Of A Kind and With A Little Bit Of Luck by DJ Luck andMC Neat rattled through the seafront venue, nostalgia building amongst the crowd. The time for the main event soon came around, with DJ Shy Cookie ending his set and introducing the various house and garage artists, alongside the full orchestra.
Back Up, Back Up, Back Up gave the punch that the crowd craved to open the live set – an instrumental piece with a strong drum beat and occasional accents of brass which really clicks with the garage genre. Newcomer Kayla Amor opened on vocals, performing a creative interpretation of Artful Dodger’s Movin’ Too Fast -the first track on their new album, Garage Classics. Although perfectly capable of holding her own onstage, Kayla was shortly joined by Camden Cox, another newcomer who melodies perfectly with the female singer. Along with the backing vocals and orchestra, they belted out Tina Moore’s Never Gonna Let You Go, a classic which resonated well with the crowd.
Well-known original UKG artist Kele Le Roc now took to the stage, singing her own 1999 hit, My Love. As with the previous tracks, this really worked well with the live orchestra, giving a depth you just can’t achieve with drum machines and computers. Following this, DJ Shy Cookie introduced true garage royalty, Sweet Female Attitude who lit up the room with Flowers, an infamous track which even those less familiar with the garage genre will know. MC Neat joined her on this track, and then took care of All Genres and the garage classic Little Bit of Luck, accompanied by DJShy Cookie himself. Crazy Love by Kayla Amor, Things We Do by Kele LeRoc and Gypsy Woman by Sweet Female Attitude followed these, really keeping the garage energy alive.
Now deep into the set but somehow maintaining a constant vigour on stage, the ensemble brought out the weapon that is Lifford Shillingford from their garage arsenal. Lifford is a hugely underrated and powerful artist who has recently made a comeback from his days with Artful Dodger, proving he’s still got it with his track Please Don’tTurn Me On. Camden Coxthencovered Sincere by MJ Cole, followed by Let Me Show You How, performed by Kayla and DJ Shy Cookie. Another fresh face, Oggie now performed Master Blaster alongside MC Neat for the penultimate track, and the group finished with Romeo, delivered by aforementioned garage royalty Kele Le Roc.
It’s clear that a lot of sweat and toil has gone into putting this eclectic mix of garage masters and up-and-comers together, providing a huge sense of nostalgia for all fans of the genre. The pure determination and hard work shown by DJ Shy Cookie and Ishmael Hamilton have really paid off, producing and funding the entire project independently, whilst still working on their own personal endeavours.