Thursday, 15 October 2009

Micachu and the Shapes, Fiddlers, Bristol, Live Review

David Okumu of The Invisible towers down upon us, his broad frame and statuesque movements hypnotise the crowd, we let him lead us through a series of silkily fused electronica post-rock tracks, which ebb and flow gently into each other. The band are a testament to the Matthew Herbert influence, a solo project turned accidental trio work seamlessly and drive the crowd into a state of musical contentment. The band beat tonight’s headliners, Micachu & The Shapes, to a Mercury nomination earlier in the year for their eponymous debut album.

Slightly later than planned, Mica Levis, nee Micachu of Micachu & The Shapes, saunters on stage with a rather DIY looking medium sized guitar; charming yet not quite effervescent. This coy coquette garners the immediate attention of the crowd as they dash to the stage so as to not miss a beat - attentive and patient they are keen to be played too. The stage dynamic works quite well with Raisa Khan on keyboards and percussion, Marc Pell on drums facing each other and Micachu centre stage; behold the energy triangle.

The opening tracks sound promising if a little sketchy. I sense they are working up to something but a few more tracks through and my hopes are quashed. Repeated sound problems hinder delivery thus creating a break in the atmosphere. They begin a song, hit the chorus and decide to begin again, cue slightly awkward explanation and a rather weak joke. I am party to a missed sound check or rehearsal session, having missed their performance at Bestival, I wasn’t sure whether their haphazard delivery was meant to add to the charm. Hindered by the high volume of new ‘rough round the edges’ material and juxtaposed by the tightness of the ‘bigger’ tracks I sensed this was not the case. Especially when you consider the link which bought The Invisible and Micachu & The Shapes together - Accidental Records – Matthew Herbert avant-garde electronica maestro. Mid-set, Micachu wisely enlisted the help of David from The Invisible to perform an impromptu guest slot.

As a champion of Micachu, I had high expectations which were dented, yet not beyond repair. The later part of the set bore witness to a confused and talkative crowd, the recovery was slow, they picked up a little, but by the final encore Micachu sneaked a smile onto her charismatic face and confidently delivered their most celebrated track to date – save Just In Case (which wasn’t performed) - Golden Phone, the crescendo bought the audience to a rapturous jiggling finale and all was forgotten, well almost.