Tuesday, 11 May 2010

This City is Ours & Mind on Fire present: This City is on Fire @ Islington Mill, Friday 20th March

Scheduling is crucial to the success of a gig. You can define the mood by arranging distinct styles to great effect. It doesn’t sound too difficult but it can elude promoters. This City is Ours and Mind on Fire hit the nail on the head with this one, though.

There are a few reasons for this: one being that I’ve never before seen Denis Jones fit so perfectly low down on the bill. This isn’t a point necessarily concerning ability – that’s on show everywhere in the Islington Mill. Instead, the flow from one act to the next is an incisive and steady progression towards higher tempo. Drawing between those lines are Cycloptic’s projected visuals and OneFiveEight’s live art doodling.

From The Kites of San Quentin are up before the top-billed trio; notable for interchanging echoing and a gargling, drowning feel to vocoded lyrics, sitting atop mountainous strata of bass-flecked, groaning FX plateaus. Technical issues aside, they bring a very listenable air of 1990s Bristolian trip-hop to the table.

Those technical issues have the opposite effect on Denis Jones’s set. ‘Clap Hands’ particularly is performed with added thickness in bass and the version of ‘Beginning’ is one of the clearer he’s produced live. It is also interesting to see this in the context of Denis’s transition from folk to electronic crowd – following the expected ‘Beginning’ ending he receives as appreciative a reception as ever.

Mount Kimbie, recognised as headliners but not last onto the stage, begin slowly. Visuals of a pebble dropped in the pool with ripples of sound gradually expanding are accurate, bringing in elements of their electronic gadgetry pick’n’mix all the while. The eclectic range of music in their 50 minutes is entrancing; mellow minimal to bass’n’beats, bleepy Nintendo pop to The xx lonesome guitar, Burial ambient dubstep to Roots Manuva deep bass. Although the venue is sold out, there’s still space to move and really feel the music pulsing; a contrast to many where the policy seems to be to cram people in beyond the capacity threshold.

XXXY steps it up a notch, tempo-wise, by laptop DJing with fast-paced foot-tappers incorporating what sounds like the dubsteppy Deadboy remix of Delphic’s ‘Halcyon’ and an echoey mix of MSTRKRFT’s ‘Heartbreaker’.

Words & Pictures: Ian Pennington

1 comment:

  1. nice review, really good night of music i thought