The Bird (FringeTIX – whoops, one-night-only)
The Bird @ SoCo Cargo
10:00pm, Fri 16 Mar 2007
My first time in the SoCo (short for Southern Comfort… christ, I don’t think I’ve let Southern Comfort pass my lips since I hit legal drinking age), and it’s interesting; a decent stage, reasonable bar, big dancefloor / moshpit, and about half-a-dozen lounges. A decent enough venue for both of the shows I’ll be seeing here.
The first band for the evening, Die Swiss, was a four-man collective: samples, loops, guitar, keys. They were great – no, make that fantastic early, with high-tempo beats and textured guitar; however, later tracks were a little more introspective – yes, they provided some lovely depth, but it lost them support on the dance floor. Still, there were some Floyd-esque elongated drones in there (even akin to the Delta soundtrack on the C64) that win praise from me.
At midnight, Die Swiss clear the stage and The Bird start setting up. And my first thought was “why the fuck are they miking the drums? They’ll kill us all!” Thankfully, this proved not to be the case; apart from the double bass being a little overbearing, levels were great throughout – The Bird remained comfortably listenable, even without earplugs.
The crowd come flooding in for their set – suddenly, SoCo is packed. With a yell, they start – Walsh on drums (of course), Bobby Singh on tabla, Simon Durrington on keys, and Barry Hill on double bass. It’s fast and furious, the tabla lends an exotic feel, and the powerful bass and crisp drums underpin the sound.
Walsh is also on crowd-chat duties; his call-outs to the drum’n’bass aficionados in the room raise the roof, and he really knows how to work the crowd into a frenzy by dropping the intensity of his drumming and then working it back up in a monstrous tidal wave of percussion. It’s really quite breathtaking.
…the first time. Maybe the first half-a-dozen times, truth be told. But then it hits me – most of these tracks sound the same. All the beats and skips seem to be identical, varying only (a little) in tempo. Walsh’s constant ascensions and vocal crowd wind-ups just became tired and predictable. Which is ironic, given Walsh’s assurance that they were using “no sequencers – it’s all us”.
In the end, a single hour was all I could manage – and that was only because I accidentally spied a rockin’ impromptu dance-off between two very flamboyant dancers who happened to bump into each other on the dancefloor. He had the leg-speed and the fancy twists, She had a far greater variety of moves and breasts. She won :)