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Any Brazilian dance act with a track entitled, in translation, "The Striker's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick", has got to be worth a listen. According to our DJ-cum-philosopher, a man who may or may not be known to his mother as Dolores, it's a "good metaphor for the male role in a post-feminist society." Yes, but can you dance to it? You most certainly can.

Any Brazilian dance act with a track entitled, in translation, "The Striker's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick", has got to be worth a listen. According to our DJ-cum-philosopher, a man who may or may not be known to his mother as Dolores, it's a "good metaphor for the male role in a post-feminist society." Yes, but can you dance to it? You most certainly can.

Headphones on, headphones off, headphones half on, DJ Dolores (aka Helder Aragao) presides over proceedings with the divided but highly focused attention of the circus plate-spinner. He moves constantly from laptop to mixer to drum machine - tweaking, pressing and thumping, as appropriate - in order that each track spins and swings to his precise requirements. Perfectly integrating themselves into his musical plan are a live band comprising guitar, bass, percussion, two brass players, and last but definitely not least, vocalist Isaar Franca - a charming, almost demure presence in dinner-lady dress, black tights and tan suede trainers. With her dreadlocks tied back in a loose bun, she seems at first an unlikely front person for a funked-up, super-cool outfit like this. But then she'll pick up a shaker or tambourine and turn it into a living blurry thing, whilst singing in her sometimes-shouty, sometimes-disarmingly casual manner.

Isaar is the necessary heart of the band and everything else swirls around her performance: borderline-dissonant brass solos come and go; the guitar is muted but insistent; and the percussionist busies himself filling out the chunky programmed beats with lively Brazilian flourishes. Thus a pleasing elastic-band tension is created between the live and the contrived, and never for one minute do the band descend into generic carnival cheesiness.

Not since the Clash has there been so successful an integration of Jamaican ska and dub into another musical form, to create something fresh and exciting. Throw rock, electronica and hip-hop into the mix, and what you have is the best half-live band I've seen for years. And I say that without wishing for a moment to damn with faint praise.

Every song played tonight was intelligent, fun, and funky. The encore "Azougue" - a whirling dervish of a song - is a highlight of the set. Azougue is a cheap alcoholic beverage made from cachaca, lime and gunpowder, and is used to fuel all-night dance parties in Helder's home town of Recife. Tonight's audience at the Jazz Cafe somehow managed to thoroughly enjoy themselves without resort to its more dangerous ingredients.

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