Trainer brand Converse is currently running a series of amazing free gigs at the 100 Club on Oxford Street. Last week saw Blur headlining an incredibly intimate show, with support from Savages and Swiss Lips. Last night, 350 people crammed into the tiny West End dungeon to see the likes of John Talabot and Rudimental support SBTRKT. The producer and multi-instrumentalist had flown in from Montreal for the gig, and he did not disappoint.
The full line up read as Lemonade, Man Without Country, John Talabot, Rudimental and SBTRKT, but unfortunately this reviewer was only able to catch the last three. John Talabot was a revelation. The Barcelon(ian?) duo's brand of glorious house built on loop after loop of fantastic eerie disco and clean drums was, at times, breath-taking. Huddled over their desks, they crossed and faded endlessly, and with the occasional yet perfectly timed bursts of vocal and percussion, their set was an insane experience.
The second Headliner was Rudimental; the East London electronic outfit that’s on a mission to ‘bring soul back to EDM’ played a short but incredibly technical set, mixing in UK garage and two-step beats in with the likes of Drake and Chris Brown. They crescendo-d with a rendition of UK number one ‘Feel the Love’ featuring an appearance from vocalist John Newman, and needless to say the crowd got involved in joint alacrity.
So, SBTRKT. Unreal. The sheer musical talent of Aaron Jerome is unfathomable; the man is able to sit down and play a drum kit whilst tending to a laptop and intricate panel of buttons and switches. Joined on stage by regular collaborator Sampha, the spectacle was doubled as it appeared the vocalist was just as talented.
It seemed there wasn’t a single button on the vast electronic set up that went untweaked, every track rising and falling in a sea of layered electronics the seemed to span every modern genre. The most impressive thing was the pair’s acute awareness at all times of where the track was; when each drop was coming and where every accapella moment fell.
‘Wildfire’ fully galvanised an audience that was already bonded by the heat of the room, acting as the perfect highlight of a remarkable night that illustrated why this music is moving from the esoteric, into the mainstream.