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Circus rock band Papa Shango are back in their happy place with a gig in Stortford as they finally release a new album

Circus rock band Papa Shango will be back in their ‘happy place’ when they play Bishop’s Stortford’s The Horn at Half Moon in December.

But fans of the 12-piece Stortford-based band who promise – and deliver – chaos and madness guaranteed to drop jaws, can also taste their madness in album form as the long-awaited release of Risk assessment finally came to fruition on October 21.

In fact, as singer and co-founder Papa Rob (Scatchard) told the India, as it took six years to make, it’s technically an album in two halves, but he was quick to point out that it “comes together well”.

Papa Shango performs The Horn At The Half Moon at Bishop’s Stortford on December 10. Photo: goatnoisephotography (60145166)

Rob agreed that replicating the band’s live performances – when usually the only members left on stage are the drummer and bassist, as the others interact with the audience – was a challenge.

“What we did with the album was try to make it as different as possible,” Rob said. “It’s a mix of straight rock songs and silliness.”

And he admitted that the group’s stage act craziness often sees audiences at gigs outside their hometown during the first two numbers.

Papa Shango's new album Risk Assessment lasted six years (60149258)
Papa Shango’s new album Risk Assessment lasted six years (60149258)

Their eccentric sound is described as a heavier version of The Darkness with a touch of Rage Against The Machine with a hint of The Flaming Lips – and add that to their wild stage act and it can lead to some gaping mouths.

“They look at us in shock before they get it and join us,” Rob said. “But Stortford is our happy place – everyone knows us there and knows what we do.”

Rob said the ethos of the band, which formed at The Square in Harlow 19 years ago, stemmed from rock and metal bands “taking themselves too seriously” and he warmed to the idea that Dad Shango could be called a 21st century version of parody rock. Spinal Tap film group. “We’ll take that,” he said.

Papa Shango will bring his chaos and madness to Stortford in December.  Photo: Goat Noise Photography (60145342)
Papa Shango will bring his chaos and madness to Stortford in December. Photo: Goat Noise Photography (60145342)

That doesn’t mean they don’t take what they do seriously. They were backed by Republica and Alex Bay, and in turn backed artists like Skunk Anansie, Toploader, Black Grape and many more festival favorites.

Bassist and co-founder Papa Ryan was George Ezra’s college music teacher and the first to hear and help on his mega hit Shotgun. Papa Ryan also played bass on the recording of 40 Watt Sun’s album which received rave reviews in Rolling Stone magazine (America).

And although the band members have their day jobs – Rob being a driving instructor and another lecturer at Cambridge University – since the Covid pandemic put live music on hold, Papa Shango is back. in full force and became more determined to bring their mayhem to a wider audience.

The album was released in Germany and Rob said the next ambition was to bring the show live to audiences there.

Papa Shango (60149260)
Papa Shango (60149260)

In the meantime, after recent gigs in Cambridge and Chelmsford, fans of the band in Stortford will be eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Papa Shango circus to town and tickets will be like gold dust. “Last time we sold a month before,” Rob said.

To buy the album, go to Papa Shango’s Facebook page. For tickets to the concert at The Horn at the Half Moon on Saturday December 10, see https://www.ticketweb.uk/venue/the-half-moon-bishop-s-stortford/449225.