Gig review: Caribou & Four Tet, Metro Theatre, 17/2/2011

Caribou @ Metro Theatre. Pic: Sevana Ohandjanian

There was something so right about the combination of Caribou and Four Tet on one lineup. Despite creating distinctly different soundscapes, their names have become synonymous with the electronic elite, and thus the sold out crowd who came to witness got to experience two live sets that displayed the glory of dance music brought to life, in two very different ways.

First up was Four Tet, aka Kieran Hebden, and as many have astutely pointed out in the past, if one were to be photographing the man, there would be no discernable difference between how he looks setting up the laptops, and when he’s actually utilising them during performance. Then again, I don’t think anyone was there to stare at Hebden, though his methods were fascinating to watch as his songs blended seamlessly together. Body pulsing, head nodding to a rhythm that only he knew how to control and manipulate, we were taken from Angel Echoes to Love Cry and everywhere in between, the beats ebbing and flowing.

Middway through the first ‘song’ (term used very loosely), he had the audience in a sweaty, feverish dance lock. There’s an amazing communal sensation in feeling the culminating beats grow into climax and slide into their end, and the synchronicity between audience and performer was tightly bound during Four Tet’s set. As he humbly waved at the end of his show and took off, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelming joy for this modest man’s music and the frenetic movement it inspires in its fans.

Some might argue that Caribou has a higher profile than Four Tet; the songs are more traditional in that they begin and end, have definitive lyrical content that can be sung along to, and in the case of this night, are performed live by a band with minimal assistance from computers. Dan Snaith, dressed all in white, was a beacon of positivity, absolutely beaming as he moved between synth, drums and all manner of hand-held percussion.

The crowd came to foot stomping life with Kaili, as Snaith began singing with little introduction, the persistent syncopated synths swirling around the heat packed room. We were all sweating our skin off at this point of the night, but the intense humidity couldn’t put a damper on Caribou’s set, with the crowd roaring to the opening of Sun Dialling. Born Ruffians frontman Luke LaLonde appeared to perform the vocals on Jamelia, before ending with the song all had been waiting for – Odessa.

The crowd surged, sung every line and cheered so violently the band had no choice but to return and perform a stellar psych out version of Sun. And there is nothing quite as amusing as watching a room full of disgustingly sweaty people mouthing the word ‘sun’ over and over again, until the noise engulfs and there’s nothing left to do but watch and applaud until hands are numb.

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