Photo: ©Drew Cox

Wearing a tropical headdress filled with birds and fruit (fake, of course), lead vocalist and accordionist Natalia Tena takes the stage with her band Molotov Jukebox to begin an intimate and fun-fuelled evening at Southampton’s The Talking Heads.

From the instant, the band begin their performance, their showmanship evident with backing vocalist/violinist Sam Apley bouncing around the stage with the eager crowd mirroring his actions, giving a perfect Ying to Tena’s sultry Yang. Showcasing her incredible classic-jazz vocals, the band play through some of their best loved songs including the gypsy-latino ‘Tick Tock’, the tropical sounding ‘Hi Life Crisis’ and the energetic latino ‘I Need It’.

One of the many highlights of the night comes in the form of ‘Pineapple Girl’, the leading single off of Molotov Jukebox’s latest album Tropical Gypsy. With it’s happy Hawaiian guitar riffs and drumbeats provided by guitarist Adam Burke and drummer Rami Sherrington, paired with trumpeter Angus Moncrieff’s vibrant fiesta-style riffs, the band create a tangible joyous atmosphere, turning the venue into an almost carnival.

Noticeably interacting with their audience throughout the night, it is clear that Molotov Jukebox thrive on the reactions they receive from their loyal fans, and are obviously gratuitous to them with Apley making a point of thanking the crowdfunders among their fanbase that pledged money to help them to create their latest record.

‘Neon Lights’ brings a slower tone to the night, providing a chance for the band to really show their talent in unison with the songs full texture. However, the real show-stopper of the night comes in the form of ‘Don’t Panic’. With its change from smooth jazz to a funky big-bandesque feel with its funky bass line provided by bassist Tom Wilson paired with Moncrieff’s trumpet, it stands as the bands greatest song of their collection.

With their eccentric dress sense, uniquely brilliant songs and overwhelming charisma, Molotov Jukebox are exactly what is needed to bring some life, soul, and jazz back to the world of music.

MARTHA GREGORY  @MarthaGregory94

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