The album does exactly what it says on the tin, quite literally as it is available in limited edition tin mustard-box design, and also quite literally as I’ll be damned if it isn’t one of the finest party albums ever concocted by anyone, anywhere, ever! Even better than the ‘Best Party Album in the World…Ever 1995’! If you’re trying to describe the sound…don’t bother, it’s too miscellaneous – although seriocomic funky, reggae saturated with Glaswegian rootsiness and epigrammatic street humour, comes somewhere close…
The album starts exactly as it means to go on; with the glorious disco sound of the Dijon 5 filling your oracles from the first moment – you, dear listener, have embarked upon a whimsical journey of mustard-flavoured condi-mental madness! If I count them up – tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 10 are all earworms*, that is a lot of fucking earworms for one album, carrion has less worms in it than this album. I find myself, through my day-to-day activities, casually whistling, humming or downright singing, hooks and melodies such as; ‘it might not be the end of the world but it always ends in tears for my ginger girl’; ‘bouncy ball, oh bouncy ball, oh bouncy ball, oh bouncy – she took a toalie, in me’ holie, she was a goalie, in me 5 a side team’; ‘Junkieeeeeeee breakfast, junkieeeeeee breakfast’; ‘International sex hero is coming to the rescue’; ‘I’m a gay icon, I’m a gay icon, I’m a gay icon, I’m a gay icon, dance all night in the gay disco son, I’m a gay icon’, and many, many more infectious and addictive lines, and we all know how addictive lines can be.
*Psychological term for the song that gets stuck in your head on loop.
But that’s just the simple hooks, the ones that drag you into the song, marbled throughout the Mustard’s deceptive façade as a ‘joke’ band, there is, coruscating, some very clever, witty gems, apophthgems and pointed statements, often with a clever twist or funny thought. Their first and foremost mission is entertaining and bringing a smile though, and they achieve that in boundless bundles, but ingeniously disguised is semi-serious points of equality, politics, discrimination etc.
The album is truly fantastic, and might I recommend it as the perfect stocking filler, because it transcends all genres, it’s universally likeable music for anybody that bleeds red blood and has a soul with a pulse. The band could be judged on merit of the record alone, and still come off smelling of roses, but there is so much more to them than that – there is, of course, the live experience.
I’ve closely followed many bands associated with the Mustard and have friends in some of them too, from Sambayabamba to Mezzanine Allstars, Bombskare, Girobabies, Esperanza etc. and as such have caught the boys in yellow play quite a few times and partied with parts of them a few times more, and if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, through all the glitterball hats, manic crowd-participated dance-offs and inflatable beach toys, it’s that no two Mustard gigs are the same, in fact they switch it up quite often, with a troupe that ranges from anywhere between 5 and 20 members and spearheaded by Colonel John Thomas Mustard himself, with his iconic disco ball crash helmet, thirst for partying, and effortlessly cool crowd-surfing and audience participation skills, not to mention the Dijon Dijancer, who would give Bez a run for his money anyday! It is not unusual at a Mustard gig, to see a multiplicity of people from all walks of life competing in a frantic dance-off, that sees all manners of skanking, breakdancing, moshing, grinding and jiving break forth on the dancefloor, and for that reason the dance floor never disembogues during a performance from the dynamic, Dionysian and debonair, Dijon Dynasty disseminating their message of peace, love and PARTY far and wide!
Their album is so addictive I listen to it maybe once, twice a day, sometimes more if there’s a party happening (which there usually is) as it is the perfect soundtrack to a convivial setting. I’ve literally worn the record out, no exaggeration, I’m actually going to have to buy a replacement, but it’s worth it, because my music collection and parties are empty without this album to blast.
I saw the Mustard twice recently, on 15th November, when they played Walkabout with Sambayabamba and Victorian Trout Conspiracy for SYB’s 18th birthday party, and it was of course, an incredible night, with some very unique eclectic live music; from the original Glaswegian funk of Colonel Mustard, to the Edinburghian ska-punk of VTC and the almighty and uproarious scintillating rhythms of SYB to top off a perfect night. I even achieved my first ever (successful) crowd surf during the Mustard’s signature tune, ‘Dance Off’, every other crowdsurf I’ve ever attempted has left me flat on my face, but thanks to some co-ordinating by the band I pulled it off! Thanks guys.
I saw them again exactly a month later, on 13th December, at one of Glasgow’s greatest venues; the legendary Barrowlands, for the Savifest, well hosted by XFM’s Jim Gellatly and in aid of a good cause in the form of raising money for the S.A.V.I charity. Alongside The Colonel there were other thunderous performances from; Jam tribute Underground Jam, Matinee, Feet Of Clay, Big Hogg, and the sensational Seraphs of ska, Esperanza, (you can check out an interview I did with Esperanza, if you go to Youtube and type in search words ‘gonzo’ and ‘kelburn’). Esperanza completely galvanised that crowd in the Barras that night, as though someone had covered the floor in water and dropped a live wire into it! Sultry, sweating, skanking to sonorous ska music. After their set, one of their friends hopped up on the mike and publically proposed to his girlfriend, who said yes, much to the crowd and band’s rejoicing. After a performance like the one from Esperanza’s full-metal-ska bateria, and enthralling energetic vibe, you would think the night couldn’t be improved upon, but there’s still a stonker of a headliner to go and Colonel Mustard ‘knocked it out the park, knocked it out the park, knocked it out the park’…
As the Dijon ensemble, garbed in uniform yellow and Xmas decorations, file onto the stage there is a palpable excitement in the air. The next hour or so was one of the most insanely fun times I’ve ever had at a concert, all the obligatory dance-offs, bouncy balls, inflatable crocodiles, crowdsurfs and jocular shenanigans were there, but the sense of unification between band and fanbase was tremendous. The Dijon really know how to reward their fans with a rollicking and raucously entertaining set, that devours in its wake everything from hip-hop to funk, reggae to epic mariachi-style tales of being bothered in the street by junkies and the ilk, all complete with a full brass section blowing your blues away. Plus, for the major fans among the crowd (and the crowd was a distinctly yellow shade of colour that night), the Mustard Melange never gets stale as they like to mix it up, with various members from other bands collaborating, and this ensures no two gigs ever repeat themselves.
So, a space-hopping, body-popping, heart-stopping, bass-dropping, top-swapping, floor-mopping, night-topping whopping great-king-hell-bastard-of-a-performance later, and it’s all over – the Barras cut the power on the Mighty Mustard Menagerie, but the Dijon 6 (the affectionate name coined for followers of the band) were not to be deterred. We sang at the top of our voices a couple more rounds of the chorus from Ginger Girl, and it was the perfect end to the perfect night.
Ah….I’m glad that’s out my system, my love for Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 has been welling up into a blister of an article that’s needed popped for quite some time now, and with his and hers Dijon 5 tees, badges, stickers, flyers and albums I must admit, I’ve become a total fanboy, like many others, in fact the Colonel Mustard t-shirt has become iconic on a cult level around the city of Glasgow and beyond, and the Yellow Army grows and grows, daily. To see why, simply check out their album, available at most good record stores in Glasgow and online, or better yet, buy it at the NHC shop in Argyle Street (Hidden Lane, Finniestoun), that way the money you spend goes directly back into the local music scene, and with bands like the Dijon 5 to support, it shows exactly why it is important to look after your local scene, and protect it from the cutthroat music industries, because without it, bands like this couldn’t survive and thrive and play live, to find their way infectiously to your ears, to nestle in and make their hive. The next time you see a gig with Col. Mustard on the billing, don’t hesitate to buy a ticket, it’s the best few quid you’ll spend all year, I promise, trust me, I’m a doctor……of journalism – and on that note – I will see you all at the next Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 gig! For a daaaaaaaaaaaaaance oooooooooooooooooooff!!!
Seeya’ in the pit
C.T Herron & the rest of the Dijon 6.