Thursday, February 27, 2014

[live music] A trip to Cafe Oto

While in London recently I paid an exciting visit to that Cafe Oto venue place up in Dalston. This was exciting because I had never been there before and have long been marvelling at its fascinating line-ups in the pages of The Wire and elsewhere. This was for a night of music from some Glaswegian lot of music promoters called Cry Parrot, recommended by one of my Frank's APA pals. It proved to be a fun evening of eclectic music, helped by the good seats we had near the front thanks to our queuing outside in the bitter cold before they opened up and let us in.

First on the bill were Final Five, a kind of jazz trio, except I thought that maybe they were more improv than jazz. They boasted a guitarist, percussionist and a guy on double bass and they were on the forward thinking free jazz spectrum. They were entertaining enough but I found myself thinking that they lacked a certain sparkle.

Tut Vu Vu from Dave Allen on Vimeo

Act two was an outfit called Tut Vu Vu. Their thing was surfy guitars and warped loungey sounds, basically ending up making the kind of music that would be perfect for a David Lynch soundtrack. Indeed, they sounded not too different to a lot of the music I had heard at The Drowned Man on the previous night. We liked them.

The last act was Ela Orleans. She played on her own, doing funny synthetic stuff and that sampling her own voice to add texture to her vocals. That self-sampling thing can be very dull and formulaic but she was a real master at it. I notice that the Cafe Oto website blurb says that people often compare her to Broadcast, and listening again to a track there I can see where they get that, as there is a similar kind of dreamy retro-futurist quality to her music. We all thought she was great.

One unfortunate feature of the evening, however, was the amount of yappers in the audience. My friend D— had to politely ask some punters to be stop talking during the set of Ms Orleans. Afterwards he said that they appeared to be either people who had been onstage earlier or associates of the Cry Parrot people. This was a bit poor.

Image source (Cafe Oto's own guide to the artists on that night)

An inuit panda production; this post appeared in issue 138 of Frank's APA.

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