Sunday, 14 June 2009

Birdpen - Live Review

Act: Birdpen, The Bays, LCD Soundsystem (DJ Set)
Location: Southampton, U.K
Venue: Orange Rooms
Date: 11/06/09

The beautiful and bewildered came together for a highly anticipated evening of throbbing rock and rave.

I was looking forward to catching the opening act, Birdpen, as they had impressed me earlier in the year, after seeing a performance of theirs, thus warranted further investigation. Going under the nom de plumage of Dave Pen, Mike Bird and James Livingston Seagull, this trio create a deep dark dank storm of edgy layered riffs that build up a menacing head of steam. The looping rhythms make it clear that this ain't no 'Tweety Pie' chirping away in a guided cage, but more of a merciless vulture circling ominously in the unforgiving desert, eyeing up your sun blistered face.

The guys peck a stage presence, that is reminiscent of their moniker, heads relentlessly agitate up and down, as the riffs slowly build up to an incessant threatening pace, forcing you into submission with those beautiful but brooding songs. There are aspects of Birdpen's song writing, that flutter towards a more mainstream indie pop sound but I sense they most enjoy investigating sonic experimentation and perhaps their birdpenremixes site points the way to the this group's next stage of development. This is a sinister Slowdive sloshing around with Spaceman 3 sensibility, pluming marvelous!

A self released debut album 'On/Off/Safety/Danger' was released back in October 2008. The second single from this collection, titled Off, is due for an August 2009 release, go and get it from i-tunes buy it here, the early bird catches the worm as they say!

One downside at live events I've recently picked up on, is the insistence of certain sections of the audience to gabber on to their mates, even though the act has begun playing, show some respect! it ain't no hotel lounge bar and show some etiquette, no one wants to hear you babble. we paid our hard hard earned dosh to listen to the band, so shut it or move to the bar; moving on from the mini-rant onto the main live act of the evening.

The Bays are Andy Gangadeen (drums), Jamie Odell (keyboards), Simon Richmond (samples, keyboards) and Chris Taylor (bass) The project was meant as a one-off performance in London back in 1999, but they have been gigging intermittently since, gaining a reputation as an improvisational, instrumental dance band, who together deliver a mish mash of menacing electronic dub throb. Apparently part of their manifesto is that they refuse to sign to a record label, release records, sell merchandise or even rehearse.

Each gig is a unique event with a combustible mixture of techno, house, drum'n'bass and special effects thrown into the counter cauldron. The interaction between the quartet was intriguing as they adjusted their music according to the feedback vibe of the crowd and how the mood takes 'em. Each band member trotted off on their own exploratory path yet the performance hung together, an archipelago of four volcanic islands seemingly independent but inextricably linked underneath the surface, pummelling yet pleasing the crowd with a diverse set of pulsating beats.

LCD Soundsystem: I'm not going to comment on the relative quality of this D.J Set as it is a subject I know little about (it's never stopped you writing before, I hear you cry) suffice to say that, as we left the scene early due to it being a school night, the floor was crammed with a packed hot and sweaty crowd bouncing away and getting "jiggy" as the modern verbal vernacular goes, so they tell me!

- Breaking Precedent - Official Video, directed by Simon Gesrel

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