Filed under: live, review | Tags: charlotte richardson andrews, think about life, trash kit, tUnE-yArDs
tUnE yArDs + Trash Kit + Think About Life
Upset The Rhythm @ Cargo, London •••••
February 15, 2010
We’re only two months into the new year but it’s safe to say that Monday’s tUnE-yArDs show at Cargo will go down as one of the best live dates of 2010. Merrill Garbus’s debut album BiRd-BrAiNs was a unanimous breakout hit last year, winning hearts with fans and music press alike, and staking prizes for its DIY magic (think Dictaphones and free software) and the patchwork stitching of sounds that soar throughout its uniquely spirited songs. The sell-out show was teeming with that full-capacity excitement that promises an unforgettable experience, and the New England native delivered in spades, bringing the same energy that wowed fans at SXSW and ATP last year to a smaller, yet equally appreciative London audience.
Unrelentingly fun warm up noise came from Montréal’s Think About Life, an energetic four piece equipped with killer breaks, thrashy pop enthusiasm and super-cute, synchronised dance moves; Garbus herself ran out to join them towards the end of their set, clapping along merrily and urging the crowd to do the same. UK trio and Upset The Rhythm alumna Trash Kit followed, donning bold face paint that went only some way towards camouflaging their self-confessed nervousness. Minor slip ups and a somewhat timid stage presence are only to be expected from a band just shy of a year old, and did little to distract from a set that bounced with tight Afropop vibes and the type of grrrl-skank that made The Slits so great. (Expect word from us on their upcoming debut very shortly)
When Garbus and bassist Ned Brenner took the stage, loop pedal magic reigned supreme. Layering sounds, live no less, is a precarious art, spilling all too easily into noisy, repetitive mess, but in Garbus’s hands a shamanic prowess shone through, with drums, ukuleles, pedals and two microphones all working in exhilarating harmony. The set was a rousing balance of album cuts and newer numbers; joyful swaying ruled to the tribal rhythms of ‘Hatari’ and big rolling beats of encore number ‘Sunlight’, while the yet to be released ‘Gangsta’ and ‘Bizness’ sounded just as hypnotic as the more familiar hits. From siren wails, bluesy gospel and reggae patter to lo-fi folk harmonies and striking pop, Garbus brought the bold, atmospheric thrills of BiRd-BrAiNs to life with an intoxicating and unforgettable charm.
Charlotte Richardson Andrews
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