First session from Regents Street flagship shop
Levi's Craft Of Music Sessions: Chilly Gonzales/Cocknbullkid

Now here’s a novel idea, a gig in a clothes shop. So, in the denim cave that is the Levi flagship store on Regent Street sits a solitary black piano which is fenced in by a small cluster of people attending what is the first of 6 nights showcasing artists that are specifically known for their own individual approach to song-writing.

Shopper’s mill up and down the street pressing their faces to the window as a tall man dressed in what appears to be a black robe approaches the piano. Looking like a Gaelic mad genius a broad smile stretched across his bearded face and with wild hair tucked behind his ears he warmly greets the crowd and shakes everyone by the hand in the front row and introduces himself. This is ‘Chilly’ Gonzales. Taking a seat he edges himself forward and with eyes closed dramatically dances his fingers across the keys switching between foreboding drama and delicate introspection. The hushed crowd that have gathered around quietly watch him play his first two songs, instrumentals taken from the album ‘Solo Piano’ before he stops and begins to interact with his public. With a personality that could fill a room ten times this size he bounces off of the intimacy of the setting.

Asking those watching if they like rap music is met with an uncertain silence, as was the question of who doesn’t like rap music. He then puts his view across that it’s the only true ‘new’ music of the last 30 years and that you owe it to yourself to find something in it that you do like. And then if you still don’t you are in fact, a racist. He is of course joking, but its this that gets the crowd involved and relaxed. More an entertainer than a standard artists he crack more than a few jokes, with some sending chuckles around the room, others; specifically about anuses, not so much. This minor digression leads him into his next song where he proceeds to perform a very pronounced rap song he wrote himself over the tinkling of piano melodies.

Another pause in the music makes way for the reason he confesses to doing the show. An opportunity to talk. He spends large parts of the show explaining how he creates his music, what inspires him, how he approaches song writing, “capitalist revenge fantasies” and being Lenny Kravitz. Nothing but warm and charming he takes the opportunity to relieve a member of the crowd of his shoes and wear them himself so he can quite literally “be in the audiences shoes”. Another grin stretches across his face.

Questions and answers are traded with the crowd and then he invites Anita Blay, aka Cocknbullkid to join him. Bright red lipstick and dressed in black the London songstress joins Gonzales to play a selection of songs they have collaborated on including the emotional ’Asthma Attack’ to which her voice belts out and carries itself across the room, a birthday dedication and an uplifting cover of Diana Ross’s ‘Touch Me In The Morning’. So there you a have it, a night that was somewhat surreal and not a little random, but you know what? It worked well and there's five more to come. Brace for fun and intrigue.

Words by Lee Puddefoot

View an accompanying gallery from the gig HERE.

Find out more about Levi's Craft Of Music acoustic sessions HERE and sign up for free tickets on their Facebook page HERE.

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