Moa McKay & the Flying Cabaret bring elegance and charm to Marie Antoinette E.P. release show
The chandelier above Moa McKay & the Flying Cabaret’s heads brought an appropriate level of elegance to proceedings. The band have been playing a number of gigs in recent weeks, yet this one marks the release of new E.P. ‘Night & Day’. Across five tracks it showcases the smooth jazz-inflected and retro style that the band have been cultivating. With an expectant crowd inside the venue well before showtime, the room is pregnant with anticipation when McKay and co take to the stage just after 10pm. Fortunately, they would not be disappointed.
Starting with the first single from the E.P., ‘Labyrinth’, the band got quickly into the swing of things. Complimenting McKay’s versatile and soulful voice are drums, keys, bass, guitar and a prominent saxophone. The band are well-drilled and interact easily with one another. They all look comfortable on stage, no more so than McKay who has a very communicative and engaging way with the crowd. She sought them out at every opportunity and easily bantered between songs in an unaffected way. The best-dressed award goes to the saxophonist, sporting a remarkable jacket.
After a couple of songs, including the excellent ‘Sally’, McKay removes her jacket. You could have expected a cocktail dress, which would have suited the musical sensibilities of the band, but instead she wore a sequinned shirt. Nevertheless, this signalled the band’s intention to move into some more uptempo numbers. The band provided backing vocals which added to the energy of the performance. We were treated to their version of ‘Me and Mr Jones’, which by my reckoning was a little too karaoke and wouldn’t have been missed in the set, or could’ve been performed more daringly.
McKay and Elias Graversen, the latter on keys duty this evening, then duetted on ‘Sweeter than Your Love’ which they had co-written for ‘Night & Day’. The audience, along with the rest of the band, took pause for a moment to appreciate their two voices working seamlessly. The room was silently transfixed. It was lovely to see how genuinely enthralled the rest of the band were with the pair, even taking a seat on stage to enjoy them. The crowd cheered their approval at the song’s close and McKay and Graversen looked delighted in thanking them.
Back on with the show, then, and a return to the funky material including an excellent cover of ‘Bad Bad News’ by Leon Bridges. Again, the bass and drums were so tight that dancing wasn’t optional. The crowd fragmented into a mass of dancing bodies, grooving along with the music. A highlight was ‘Feelin’’, again from the new record. The beautifully realised retro sound was reminiscent of Chic, and the Flying Cabaret oozed that essence Daft Punk have been trying to CPR back to life since ‘Get Lucky’.
At the end of their setlist, the crowd bayed for more and the band looked a little bemused. “Which one do you want again?” Moa asked. After a brief negotiation, they began a different, vocal-led version of ‘Labyrinth’. The show came full circle, in a wry labyrinthine way. The saxophone soared alongside Mckay’s voice and both belted out the final strains of the song before the band took their final bow and departed the stage. It had been a joyful evening, a celebration of music and led by a wonderfully talented ringmaster.
‘Night & Day’ is out now.
A Scottish troubadour, scientist, writer. Jack of few trades.