Saturday, January 23, 2016

Live Review :: Cairobi/Shiners/Dead Ceremony :: The Social, London - Jan 19 2016

Live Review

Cairobi/Shiners/Dead Ceremony

The Social, London  

January 19 2016

Words: Linn Branson

By the number of synths that could be seen unloaded for tonight's three bands down in the bowels of Little Portland Street's venue The Social for this Hopscotch promoted show, it could quite easily have been mistaken for a Battle of the Synths fest.

First on are the very synth-orientated Dead Ceremony. The Tunbridge Wells outfit have been known to Little Indie for awhile now (and to each other since schooldays, as well as both vocalist/ keys man Chris Stewart and drummer David Trevillion having played in Tom Williams & The Boat at one time).

Associated with fragile, often intense, lyrics and multi-layered down-tempo melodies, their set tonight includes both their first track, the uptempo, dance-vibed 'Heartbeat' - with its thumps resembling a beating heart - from way back in 2013, as well as the haunting 'Losing You', which is undoubtedly their finest and most stirring to date, resounding with Stewart's solemn vocals over dark, deep electro Nord keyboard notes and the repeated ambiguous lyric line of, "Light head / Cold sweat / Find the vein / And deliver." Nestled in between are the effortless sounding 'Magic' with a big rock-out end, and '17' that owes much to the guitar effects.

The change in style is evident when London indie quartet Shiners pitch up and put the Britwave rock 'n' roll into the evening, and liven up the crowd into putting their dancing shoes to use. They don't mess around, the first two songs sequeing seamlessly into each other. 'Pressure', their late 2015 single release, with Franz Ferdinand vibes, gets a few heads bopping at the front, but not perhaps as effusive a response as they may have wished for, or expected.

Shiners score a first in being the only band we have ever contacted to have completely ignored our request for their setlist in order to familiarize ourselves with their material. Maybe an oversight, but really not good PR, chaps: it doesn't endear you, to us, anyway. One of the things we had wanted to check was the fact that it seemed a very short set. It might have been because we were enjoying ourselves so much time just flew by, or that it was, indeed, no more than four songs. We shall never know.

Closers Cairobi, I have to admit, were a band I knew nothing about. The outfit may be London-based but you can probably guess by their names (Giorgio Poti, Salvador Garza, Stefan Miksch, Alessandro Marrosu, Aurelien Bernard) and accents that these hail from elsewhere originally (in fact, pencil in Austria, Italy, France, Mexico) - and their sound in many ways reflects that.

Their style is a musical hybrid encompassing elements of psych, jazz, blues, and prog rock, and throughout they play with a passionate array of off-kilter grooves and rhythmic intensity, with riffs aplenty flowing fast and free, and a drummer who hit those skins with such thunderous force throughout the seven-song set that he must have surely been suffering repetitive strain injury in the days following.

Vocalist/guitarist Giorgio Poti keeps his hat on and head down over 'Human Friend' and last year's single, 'Zoraide'  - both from their 'Distant Fire' EP, and pulls out some of those extended proggy-psych-type solos that have not been seen since the 70s. If you like a bit of meat and long instrumental passages to your music, stick Cairobi on your radar.

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