After much searching I couldn’t find the poster so here’s the rather strange official video of “Our Own Dream”.
Ahh Birthdays. When I was first alerted to KSIA playing in London I bought the tickets pretty much straight away for the exorbitant price of £5, but at the time, despite my searching, it seemed like this place didnt actually exist yet. For all intents and purposes, it kind of still doesnt.
Me and the cabby just had to best guess it, since neither of us knew where it was. Our first attempt was successful; a signless, shutters-half-closed affair with nothing more than a small sign on the door with the set times stuck onto its grimy surface. The ground floor was non-existent and they’d gone with the classic bare-concrete look, but it didnt matter. Everyone was pretty chilled out and accommodating and were pretty light-hearted about the general decor, joking around when I mentioned the distinct lack of a sink in the bathroom 😉
Anyway, the state of the venue has no real bearing on the music now does it? I just thought I’d entertain you for a few seconds with a little backstory is all. The set list comprised of two acts I was unfamiliar with; Shells and Regal Safari (links to Bandcamp) and (obviously headlining) Keep Shelly In Athens. Shells actually sounded a lot like the work he has on his Bandcamp; sunny, chilled ambient techno/downtempo electronic that was just…really consistently light and airy; solid bass rhythms with more eclectic electronics tinkling above. It was a good groove inducer, just something to warm everyone up. Highly recommend checking out his Pastels EP; it’s a bit Four Tet-esque.
Regal Safari did away with Shells’s MacBook and triggers and replaced them with a purely analogue, synth orientated setup, which inevitably meant a bit more dynamism on the stage between the two of them, mostly due to the copious knob-fiddling and button mashing. The sunny vibe continued full force with these guys, and their album up online really does no justice to their live set whatsoever. Just huge, really richly detailed downtempo electronic; massive synth wibbles and the occasional “drop” following a substantial crescendo. These guys were just having fun and the sound was pretty fucking heavy at times; it was still chilled as you like but it was so much bigger and heavier than their published work.
And then Keep Shelly In Athens. At this point the band had already been wandering around the rather small venue (a bunch of Greek guys were chatting up the girl behind me) for some time, so they were at least close by when their time came. They’re all really short, just throwing that out there.
I was sort of expecting them to sound like they did on KEXP; more lightweight than normal, bit softer, more minimal. Actually, they were fucking loud as hell. The problem I had was balance; a couple of times I felt like the guitar/drums were really drowning out both the synth/electronic backing and Sarah’s vocals, but those are only quibbles. They played all the quintessential KSIA tracks; “DIY”, “Running Out Of You”, “Our Own Dream”, as well as some new content (couldnt catch the names). Sarah even went onto do a live interpretation of their ABADABAD “California Birds” remix, which was fantastic. I knew from the start it was going to be really hard to translate her vocals from the studio to a live performance but she did an amazing job, I was pleasantly surprised. Really passionate and gutsy. And to their credit, even though they were obnoxiously loud at times, the drummer and guitarist were both very good. I’m a big fan of the work these guys do but it definitely wasn’t a case of rose-tinted spectacles, I thought they put on an awesome show; they even had a double bass up on stage!
Well, there’s just a few words on that. They were all really excellent and I suggest you all go and check them out, you can play the stuff on Bandcamp for free so there’s no reason not too.