The Mighty Boosh, Cargo, London

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The Independent Culture

The forthcoming Mighty Boosh Festival on 5 July is the logical extension of this year's abundant comedy programming at the summer festivals. Like the notion of a "summer of love", "comedy as the new rock'n'roll" has consequently had a second outing.

Tonight's show was one of a series of small warm-ups before the Boosh boys, Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt as Vince Noir and Howard Moon, head a line up that includes Gary Numan and The Charlatans. While musically they can't hope to upstage their guests, Boosh fans will undoubtedly sing-a-long with their beloved characters.

With musical pastiche a central plank of the Boosh shtick the pair have plenty of material from their TV shows on which to draw and kick off with two electronica offerings "Future Sailors" and "Electro Boy". Amusing though it is,I can't help but think of Waen Shepherd's creation Gary Le Strange and how he cornered the market in Eighties lyrical mimicry.

Moving away from the influences of Kraftwerk, David Bowie and Gary Numan the duo ranged through jazz, funk and punk introducing sidekick Rich Fulcher as jazz trombonist Lester Corncrake and Fielding's Old Gregg, a peculiar merman with a dangerous crush on Howard Moon, Barratt's persona. "All the best men shave twice a day" sings Fielding as Gregg in praise of freaks everywhere.

Later, Fielding takes to the stage as "The Hitcher" an evil cockney character whose a mix of The Artful Dodger and Jack the Ripper. For those keen on the quieter charm of Barratt's Howard Moon character he scores yet more cool points with his guitar-playing and when Lester Corncrakes urges him during a jam to: "Go Howard Go" he replies: "I'm gone."

Although some of the later Captain Beefheart-style off-cuts unravel and Bob Fossil's (Rich Fulcher) rap needs work it must be fun to be a Boosh boy. It will please at their festival too, though as we leave the venue and Gary Numan's Cars blares out we're reminded that the duo have chosen tough acts to follow.

The next Mighty Boosh warm up gig is on Tuesday 1 July at Cargo.

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