Tuesday, 25 May 2010

FutureEverything presents: Konono No.1 @ Club Academy, Thursday 13th May

A quick FutureEverything recent history: the festival stepped away from being FutureSonic, a name seemingly suggestive of a music festival with periphery activities, to take on its new moniker (FutureEverything) for the first time this year, thus becoming recognisably an all encompassing festival that happens to include music. It’s still essentially the same thing though, which is great.


As their personalised megaphone loudspeakers attest, Konono No. 1 are to claim this stage of the festival as their own. However, first they lend it to Bass Clef and his warped beats’n’bass loops, laid to support fusions of trombone.

It’s the likemb├ęs that are the main racket makers, as three of the six Congolese wield these traditionally acoustic instruments (variations of which include the sanza mbira, finger xylophone and thumb piano, amongst others). Add a pick-up to each and the fast plucked clangs reverberate in bass, medium and treble.


Beyond the leading trio of likemb├ęs there’s bass bongos, snare drum and hollow, metal car parts clamouring for percussive attention. And while the steady undercurrent is maintained, vocalist Pauline Mbuka Nsiala’s hip gyrations lead the way for an audience itching to move with the upbeat vibe.


There’s hardly a let-up, with most songs relentlessly weighing in at longer than ten – if not twenty – minutes, but there is some time for front row banter in French. Previous Krautrock comparisons are difficult to avoid, and you can’t blame the lead singer for failing to materialise for the encore after close to two hours of near-incessantly catchy repetitions.

Words: Ian Pennington
Pictures: Jo Ford

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