Scala, London 22/2/13

My plus one keeps asking where the panda is. She's a bit drunk. There is a man behind us who looks like Garth from Wayne's World. It's trying to snow outside. Again. She just ate a burrito that looked baby poo. We are laughing. A lot. It was always going to be that kind of evening, even without the cocktails and bottle of wine. After the first DJ steps off stage, there is a burst of dry ice and a small robot enters to the left. He is carrying a miniature turntable. The crowd go a bit mental. The robot takes off his head. Underneath there is a little Canadian man called Eric San. This is Kid Koala. My plus one asks where the panda is again. Eric, cute as a button, then introduces Adira Amram and The Experience, sweetly and with just a hint of mischief: 'this is an act I saw in New York a few years ago…'.


And with such a subtle introduction, those who have not seen Ms Amram and her backing dancers before (i.e. me and my mate) could be forgiven to being a bit overwhelmed at first. Swathed in a black hoody and joggers, it becomes more apparent how much this young woman is inspired by Peaches when two women dressed in lycra slink out of the wings and pull off her baggy outfit to reveal she is also wearing a uni-tard and glittery sweatbands. We are standing at the front and they all nearly kick me in the head at one point or another. Billed by others as a 'comedy musical workout', this description is something of a cop-out. Yes, there are dance moves that we are encouraged to follow and the cardio output is significantly raised (part through exertion, part through fear) but the level of entertainment is far greater than three women jumping around the stage in skin-tight outfits. Though Peaches has done the slutty electro thing better, she didn't have a burger kazoo and, as Adira instructs The Experience to crowd surf over Scala before manifesting at the back of the room with a parade of light-up umbrellas- led again by Mr Koala- it is plain to see why the blokes behind us know every word she is giving us. With a cult-like appeal, there is rapping, there are hip-hop beats, there are smiles from ear to ear. And a song about fingering. Why not, eh?

And the party is definitely started by the time that the little Canadian appears again. Here to promote his latest album '12 bit blues', it is unsurprising that the set begins and largely continues with some slashing and scratching of, er, blues records. At first, however, the atmosphere is quite static: there are two screens in which we can watch what his hands are doing and he stands there doing his thing. He plays some Outkast and White Stripes and the hero-worshipping commences but there is still something lacking. Perhaps after the unhinged energy preceding him, there needs to be some sort of stage show. Perhaps the crowd know what is about to occur. Like DJ Yoda and Mr Scruff bring their show alive with visuals, Kid Koala goes one better, as his visuals are live (and still doing the high kicks). Cue the return of The Experience, along with puppets, burlesque-inspired naughtiness and extreme audience participation as a conga winds its way through the venue. Kid Koala's old vinyl remixes are the perfect backdrop to antics of a gloriously bonkers nature. Though he doesn't dress as a panda at any point, he does don a koala outfit. The plus one says that we must have more random nights out like this soon. I completely agree. When I mentioned it to the people at work over lunch, they became more convinced that I am a product of hallucinogens. If only.

Anna C
Thanks to Rhyna and co for sorting this evening.