It’s a stunning line up that awaits the gig goers at XOYO tonight, as Memory Tapes returns to the UK for his first show in support of latest album Player Piano, supported by Star Slinger with Swedish Balearic duo Air France manning the decks – all of whom are in the middle of creating very exciting things, and all of whom we’re very eager to see.
It’s unfortunately a very ill Star Slinger that we get tonight, but that doesn’t stop him from being his usual, highly enthusiastic self – entrancing the busy room with productions such as ‘Mornin’ as well as the crowd-pleasing remix of Alex Winston’s ‘Sister Wife’. Although clearly struggling with a cold Darren Williams trojans on, even managing to slip in a little encore. On any other evening the whole crowd would be dancing but tonight’s line up has attracted a more engaged audience, equally as happy to watch how everything’s being put together.
It’s a shame that Air France’s sounds are treated as background music during the stage change overs, but for those paying attention their DJ set is inventive and brilliant, keeping the mood of the room light and vibrant as the first real-life instruments of the evening are brought to the stage for tonight’s headliner.
It’s not very often that the man also known as Dayve Hawk makes live appearances so tonight feels especially important; it’s the UK’s first opportunity to hear the new tracks from the wonderful follow up to 2009′s Seek Magic live.
Just a year ago, the Memory Tapes live show consisted of Hawk, his guitar, a drummer and an armful of samples, so it’s pleasing to see a live bassist brought into the mix for this series of shows. In fact, once the band begin to play, it’s difficult to see how the tracks from Piano Player could have been interpreted in any other way than with the extra muscle, so central is the bass to the new tracks. The music feels rich, full and bright, with Hawk demonstrating how he’s equally as able to produce effortlessly memorable sounds with a guitar as he is with a laptop. ‘Wait In The Dark’ and ‘Trance Sisters’ sound particularly strong tonight, and the inclusion of a few tracks from Seek Magic also goes down very well.
The stage is adorned with screens, which play host to mesmerising projections that grow and shimmer with the rise and fall of the music. It’s both visually and musically an impressive show despite the apparent lack of confidence that Hawk seems to harbour when it comes to his vocals. On record, the lyrics and vocal melodies are a seminal element of the song constructions but the passion driving these elements appears lacking tonight. Nevertheless, this is a small element in what’s otherwise an impressive live set. The music is intelligently textured, and the live drums and bass add life and vigour to the songs.