You write the reviews: Portico Quartet, SOAS Brunei Gallery, London

4.00

"We all live together, you see, and tonight this is for Jack," says Nick Mulvey, pointing at the saxophonist, who sports the looks of Jude Law and a chunky Norwegian jersey. "He sleepwalks and fell down the stairs last night." It's a genial way for the hang-player to introduce "Steps in the Wrong Direction", a track from this new band's first CD, Knee-Deep in the North Sea.

And the hang is why we have come along to see them. After hearing a track from their compelling disc on Radio 4's Front Row, I shot online to dig up details of the group's next gig; and judging by the tumultuous applause at the end of their short set, I am not the only one sensing that the Portico Quartet are a phenomenon in the making.

The hang is a domed steel percussion instrument, and several of these wok-like things, each tuned to a different key, were handed around the stage like totemic flying saucers. The instrument can sound like a doleful Cuban piano or a lyrical steel drum, surge forward in a hypnotic bass track or soar like a soulfully resonant gamelan. Two of the four young men in this group, who met while studying music at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, took it in turns to stroke very individual responses out of this impressive piece of music-mongery.

It may sound mythic, but it's apparently true, that the hang's inventors will not agree to sell one of their creations before the would-be suitor has undergone a gruelling interview in Switzerland. Having, I guess, soared over that hurdle, the quartet have been busking in Europe as well as on London's South Bank, and clips on their Myspace page demonstrate how this has honed the band and their sound. But what gives this strange yet perfectly balanced meld its lyrical lead is the soprano saxophone: Jack Wyllie plays up a storm, belying his expression of slightly startled detachment.

The pellucid and seemingly effortless sound on "(Something's Going Down on) Zavodovski Island" turns stormily onomatopoeic during the album's title track, while the waltz-time "Pompidou" displays Gallic undertones, befitting of a track composed during their busking days in Paris.

The rather corporate surroundings of the Brunei Gallery theatre space fails to dampen the audience's gusto or disrupt the band's control. They are set to be jazz/world/classical's first barnstorming boy band, but don't let that put you off them or this unmissable musical departure.

Louise Hayman, lawyer, London

Touring to 17 May (www.myspace.com/porticoquartet)

E-mail your 500-word review of an arts event of your choice to readerreview@independent.co.uk. For terms and conditions, see www. independent.co.uk/freelanceterms

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk