The Iko’s New Orleans Music Shop- open for good time New Orleans grooves

There’s a quiet revolution going on deep underground in a cellar bar in the centre of London and its heart beats defiantly to the rhythms of New Orleans.

Every two weeks, Dom &The Iko’s open up the door to the swampy secrets of their souls at The Alleycat, Denmark St, heading up a unique gig and jam session.  

 At the helm is by Dom Pipkin- piano virtuoso, recognised as the best New Orleans inspired piano player in London; his playing heavily influenced by Professor Longhair, the maverick genius James Booker and Jelly Roll Morton. Dom & The Iko’s bring their very special brand of intoxicating New Orleans inflected RnB, soul and blistering funk by mixing up originals, classics and obscure gems from the Crescent City. You might hear Dr Jazz followed by Dr John, ending with a Mardi Gras Indian chant that has Dom jumping into the crowd tambourine in hand exclaiming “Hooo na naaaay” as the crowd goes mad, arms and legs flailing as if possessed.

This is a picture of ‘The Iko’s New Orleans Music Shop’. To describe the atmosphere? It’s ‘like light touching various places in space…accumulating in intricate patterns until the entire rooms glows with its own being’ (Ragtime- E.L Doctorow) as my own words fail me. The beauty is we never know who’s going to turn up- tap dancers hoofing to Big Chief one week, four trombones, a smattering of saxes and a pocket trumpet making up an almighty brass section the next, crammed into the tiny space by the side of the stage (outside the ladies loo) creating beats that occupy the entire room.

 Dom and I have been running the night for two years. In between sets, I spin that vinyl I scoured New Orleans to find- y’know that vinyl I’ve been telling you about- hours in record shops, traversing the city, only stopping to use the loo. I dig deep and spin rare New Orleans RnB, jump jive and swing with a few detours into the sweaty bayous of Louisiana.

This is music to get down to, to party and ‘Second Line’ to, always full of blues, soul and life. This is music that never stands still a moment.

 Where y’at? Look out for the Mardi Gras beads scattered on the blackboard on the Soho pavement opposite 12 Bar, head down the stairs and join us for some New Orleans grooves that will make you shake and a vibe that will change your life…

Tuesday fortnightly (next up Feb 18th 2014) 

The Alley Cat: 

4 Denmark St, WC2H 2LP

Facebook: The Iko’s New Orleans Music Shop