Sunday, 1 June 2014

Review: The Glitch Mob / Opiuo / Your Niece @ The Forum, Kentish Town, London, 30 May 2014

Mike Wabro (glitchrate) reports on The Glitch Mob's Love Death Immortality Tour from a sweat-soaked Forum. Opiuo and our kid Your Niece in support.

We arrive at The Forum just in time to catch the end of Your Niece’s first opening set of the night. It seemed like he had set a great tone for the night’s events.

London goes mad for Opiuo

Kiwi glitch-hop don, Opiuo was next to hit the stage and was greeted with a huge reception from the crowd. Boasting a new live setup replete with laptop, controller, mixer, fresh drum-pad & his big orange drum-sticks, he began knocking out the beats live over his set - moving swiftly into, and mixing seamlessly between, some of the new corkers like 'Clumpy Cider', 'Snorkle' and 'Misty Digit' from his latest album, Meraki. His staple crowd favourite remixes of Koan Sound and Ray Charles got the, now nearly full, dance-floor vibing, bums shaking to his infectious stage energy. As ever, he kept his set diverse and fun - effortlessly spanning between tempos and styles - yet always with that trademark, cheeky, super funked-up Opiuo sound we have grown to love so much. After a set filled with more funky fun than you can shake a glitchy stick at, the whole place was buzzing with anticipation of The Glitch Mob.

Mike & Donna during Opiuo’s set

Your Niece got his second sneaky 15 minute set of the night on after that, whilst the stage was set for the mighty Mob, starting with Boards Of Canada’s 'Dayvan Cowboy'. The dancefloor started cramming fuller than a sardine can. As I was pressed hard against the front side wall of the live mixing desk area, I realized then that the dancefloor had not actually been full at all until that point. I wondered again why they chose The Forum over Electric at Brixton- as they did on their last tour. Crowd dispersion, sound system, & room acoustics all seemed to suffer somewhat at The Forum.

The lights dimmed. That sudden feeling of being at a massive rock gig- crowd screaming with all hands in the air as Ooah, Boreta & ediT walked onto the stage. As the stunning lazer light show began, the mysterious cover was drawn away, to reveal the massive silhouettes of their awesome new drums- looking like an HR Geiger inspired fusion of a jumbo jet engine and a Kyoto Drum. Each of them had the same setup in front of them, with the massive drum behind them, another electronic kit below that, & a pillar in front with 4 ipad-like screens in each, angled down facing towards the crowd- on which they played most of the riffs live, in divided colour quadrants that lighted up each time they did.

The energy was immense as they began pounding their drums with explosive visuals to the tune of the epic, ‘Drive Like You Stole It’, from their previous album, 'Drink The Sea'. Surrounded by such a diversely eclectic array of people, made for an electrically inclusive atmosphere. Their grueling schedule of almost a show in a different country every alternate day, had clearly done nothing to hamper their energetic spirit and passion for their sound, and the love for their fans.

I must confess that by that stage, the rounds of beer & shots in-between in celebration of my extended birthday, had started taking effect as the specifics of which track was which, became somewhat blurred- especially since they were mixing tracks into one another. All the epic bangers: the old & a lot of the new off their latest seminal album, ‘Love Death Immortality’. I was fully enveloped in their performance. I remembered the contrast of seeing them in their very early days on their first ever UK visit in 2008- in the very shanty surroundings of the Rhythm Factory. That was like sitting on a couch in someone’s over-sized living room, watching a bunch of guys having fun mixing tunes up all-over each other on one controller. This, in contrast, was like an extremely tight and flawless extravaganza of sound and visual orgasm! The Glitch Mob are undeniably a powerful force now, entirely unique with their own take on that infamous big West Coast Lazer Crunk Metal sound- yet always relevant & nodding to the current sound.
After their last song, it did not take long for them to be screamed back on stage for an encore, dropping one of my favourites, 'We Can Make The World Stop' - which seemed like a climax for the crowd- with extra high crowd jumping & fist pumping action. They ended with the new rework of 'West Coast Rocks' - to huge standing applause and Glitch Mob finger signs. They seemed so happy, taking a moment to take a bunch of selfies against the backdrop of the crowd, while Boreta took to the mic & confessed how much it meant to them to have so much love & appreciation from the UK crowd- as all their influences came from UK.
This was my third time watching The Glitch Mob preform over the years; and they certainly didn’t disappoint. I had to buy a T-shirt this time- purely on the basis that my T-shirt was utterly sweat-drenched.

Mike & Lizzy after the show
To round things up, Your Niece took back to the decks, keeping the remaining crowd moving to some fresh ghetto bassy trap and dubstep. A brilliant night all-round.

By Mike Wabro (glitchrate) for UK Glitch Hop

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