‘‘The Last Days are Coming’… spend them making Jazz hands to this gloriously ‘apocalyptic carnival Rock n Roll’ sound of the weirdly named Tankus the Henge. A fine end-of-the-world tribute indeed.
Intelligent, uplifting gypsy style jump about and stomp your feet music, Tankus the Henge bring colour and sound to life, as vivid and as vibrant as your psychedelic dreams.
This London-based band have been tipped for great things by the PRS (Performing Right Society) and featured in the Top 10 Acts to See at Glastonbury. And I can see why. I pride myself on my journalistic integrity and I’m well-known for ‘saying it like it is’. My only criticism is they need to write more songs and play more gigs! This band IS amazing. Here’s why…
A rock n roll sound with a difference
A raucously sonorous and gloriously vintage-sounding six-piece band of incredibly talented musicians playing not just the usual guitars and drums, but a piano, trumpet, sax and even an accordion! And rumour has it there was also a trombone. I thought I’d imagined it but it was real…
They transformed the quiet Bristol night into a wild and frenzied circus of energy and fun. It’s a curious mixture of Rock n Roll meets Jazz with trace elements of Reggae (yes really) and perhaps even Ska, set off by a Victorian fairground vibe in its gypsy-carnival, folk rock cacophony. They really are quite unique and not like any other band I have ever seen - in a good way.
Jaz Delorean the showmaster
Jaz Delorean (his real name!) is the good looking, piano playing showman who whips up the crowd like a circus master with his passion and presence. His voice is a pitch-perfect gravel on velvet that could make a girl melt but is so damn loud has everyone just jumping up and down. He’s a great front man in that he engages well with the audience and there’s an underlying sense of humour there which makes him very watchable. The audience seem to hang on his every word. His bright red, flamboyantly frilly shirt cut quite a dash alongside the bowlers, top hats and squeeze box.
Regulars of the festival circuit, this high energy band had the venue packed and every single person clapping, singing along and stamping their feet. There was not a dull moment from start to finish.
The 1920s Jazz-age feel of the night came early on with the song Tango, which we duly all did in a sea of swaying smiles. The crowd was a stylish mix of colourfully dressed students and older discerning music lovers of all sorts of styles and persuasions. Students don’t look like they used to - cocktail dresses with vintage fur stoles, feathers in their hair and Ugg boots…
Jaz invited us all to “Scream at the top of your voice!” to Life is a Grimm Tale and we did. There was such an end-of-the-world frenzy we’d have done anything he said.
Smiling Makes the Day Go Quicker was lots of fun and Recurring Dream a fast-paced extravaganza of a song including the lyrics: “Screaming your name as we crash through the skylight…” This is curiously cryptic story-telling with high drama to traces of the passion of Flamenco! It goes on:
“Will someone please explain to me why I can’t seem to break free, every night a recurring dream. I can’t unravel what it means.” No Jaz, just accept it, you’ve channelled it into this great song!
What is a Henge and why is it called Tankus?
I asked Jaz about the unusual name of the band – I mean, what is a Tankus the Henge? Is it anything to do with tanks or Stone Henge? He told me: “The name of the band was written in ink on the label of a bottle we found on a beach in Louisiana. Still don't know what it means!”
On how the band met, Jaz said: “Some of us met at college, then the others were found after we went on a gay speed dating day as a joke.” Liking his style…
Secrets of the band members
- Jaz Delorean sings and plays piano, trombone and accordion. He writes most of the songs in the shower. A real fairground upbringing, he almost permanently wrecked the staircase of his rented Hackney home getting a piano given to him by a pantomime dame up them….
- Dan Mason plays bass, sings backing vocals and works in a drag queen cabaret bar.
- Louis Schultz-Wiremu plays sax, is half Maori and has an awesome name. Flying the flag for Lewisham.
- Jake Stoddart plays trumpet and sings backing vocals. Came to play on the record four years ago and never left. Probably the best dressed member.
- Will Stanley joined the band on drums in August 2012, after our Colombian drummer Seb was refused a Visa. Being from Charlton, Will had no visa issues. Ladies watch out.
- Tim Fulker plays guitar and is affectionately known as the Hobbit. Also runs Kingston and is a mean acoustic fingerstyle guitarist too.
Tankus the Henge are now on a UK tour to celebrate the launch of their same-titled debut album of eleven songs which range from upbeat to thoughtful, including the stonking Recurring Dream and the gorgeously ethereal Riddles. One of the best tracks on the album is The Deviationist Society with its lyric: “The fool who brings a knife to a gunfight - ends up - six foot below!” It is vaguely reminiscent of Carter the USM from the late 80s when these boys were still in nappies (when I left school!) and brings the CD to an exciting climax before the perfect ending of The Last Days are Coming.
This is an upbeat powerhouse party of an album that will lift your spirits and take you on a journey of joy. It could be the best tenner you ever spend.
Next stop is London’s Lexington on Wednesday 13th March – don’t miss seeing them live. It’ll be the end of the world one day…. Go see. You won’t regret it, I promise you.