It sounded like the idea for a reality TV show. Take 14 musicians who play different styles, have never met, and come from six countries across north Africa and the Middle East; put them in a rehearsal room in Britain with a musical director who is best known as Robert Plant’s guitarist, and give them a task. “Just two weeks ago,” explained Justin Adams, “we were told we had four days to come up with a set.” Then they were off on tour. Organised by the British Council and the Serious production team, Music Matbakh (Arabic for “kitchen”) is an experiment in promoting cultural awareness, and is of course being filmed. It is a fine idea, but whether the music would be any good after just a handful of concerts was another question. At the Spitz, the show was first under-cooked and then impressive. It all started with a burst of Arabic hip-hop, with rappers from Lebanon and Morocco matched against cool, drifting vocals from a singer from Jordan and a ney flute player from Syria. Then came jazz-funk, a fine oud solo, laptop-induced beats and a series of guitar, bass and drum solos. This was more like a parade of individual musicians than a band, and the audience began to lose interest. After the interval, thankfully it all changed. An exquisite ballad by Jordan’s Ruba Saqr was followed by Arabian Desert, in which Justin Adams at last demonstrated his driving guitar work, which transformed the show. twitter down . Lebanese hip-hop from Beirut’s RGB MC and Hiba Mansour, electric violin work from Egyptian rai exponent Mohamed Medhat, and saxophone solos from the British jazz virtuoso Soweto Kinch suddenly began to fit together. By the finale, with Highway to Casablanca, this sounded like an intriguing band in the making.