It’s been a month of music for me… Lets start with Skrillex.
I knew that Skrillex had won three Grammies but no more than that. I went to see the gig with Isabella ‘The machine’ Summers. Isa was convinced I would hate it but nothing could have prepared either of us for Skrillex’ sold out show at Brixton Academy.
A gigantuate stage was revealed, it reminded me of a Thunder Cats cross Transformer mountain. Skrillex has a team of super talented visual artists VJ’s that project the most fantastical landscapes live whist he provides incredibly energetic powerful soundscapes. He wore a suit that mapped his every movement and behind him were huge robots that mirrored him, I’ve never seen anything like it. This guy has so much energy; I don’t know how you could maintain it night after night. The crowd was unusual you had cyber punks, goths, ravers, everyone was absolutely out of their minds during this visual aural reckoning. During the set he delved into R’n’B , Hip Hop, Dance, Dubstep, techno, pop and reggae faultlessly. Nero ‘Promises’ got a huge reception from the crowd, I like that one, I worked on the video for it. The crowed LOVED him and we loved it too. After the show we went backstage there was a huge bevy of people, it parted and what I didn’t expect was to be introduced to Sonny himself. I was so amazed all I could muster was ‘you’re the 5th element, right?’. Sonny was surrounded by hippie types that looked like they’d literally just walked off the Woodstock festival site, there was a hippy anarchic atmosphere, my favourite. For me that gig was up there with Maria and the Mirrors, you have to see it to believe it.
Azealia Banks was opening for the NME tour a week later on the same stage, you will probably be familiar with her explicit 212 track. This NME tour seemed more subdued than previous years when you had Florence touring with the likes of Friendly Fires. Azelia had a small neon sign that looked like it had been stolen from a rundown noodle shop with dead ducks glazed orange hanging miserably in the window. She spat over beats, she has a huge amount of confidence and swagger but it was the more melodic and hooky 212 that finally got people going. The crowd was a bit stagnant to be honest. They did respond when she sang Amy Winehouses’ Valerie and they were just about drunk enough to sway slightly when she really randomly finished her set with ‘Fire Starter’ by The Prodigy.
Florence and the Machine – I have watched Florence go from Antenna Studios and pub gigs to opening the NME tour then to her own headline tour and on a Friday night I caught her at Alexandra Palace.
The stage was an impressive art deco dream with beautiful Art deco screens for those of us at the back. Florences’ performance was captivating far flung from seeing her open Brixton Academy 2 years ago charging all over stage and bulldozing you over at the after show parties. Florence seemed more measured and refined and not in a manufactured way. She was accompanied by a beautiful choir and an impressive string section, they played the most delicious intro to ‘You Got the Love’. ‘No Light stuck out as did “Dog Days ‘ which got Flo bouncing and charging around like back in the day and finally ‘Lover to Lover’. This is not an easy venue to play the ceiling is extremely high the sound is less concentrated and there is a courtyard full of bars, merch stalls and food vans, you can even go out and smoke, the audience is on one level and can come and go as they please. The ladies in the crowd were shouting out every last word fiercely, the disciples of Florence. The ‘Machine’ backed Florence faultlessly but I would like to see them back in the Academy or Apollo.
Go see Skrillex. In the words of Quincy Jones ‘hes the Dude’.