Sunday, October 07, 2012

Ultraista @ Birthdays

Playing their first London gig – the recently formed Ultraista brought the vocals and electronic sound of Laura Bettinson, former driving force of Dimbleby & Capper (D&C) and new incarnation Femme, together with Nigel Godrich, producer of Radiohead and Joey Waronker adding percussion and all manner of other sounds to the mix, to Birthsdays in Dalston – ending the UK leg of a short world tour having crossed the USA and circled Europe.

From Ultraista (Birthdays) 2012

Opening the evening in Dalston was Crewdson. He initially had the quickly filling venues a little confused as his musical instruments included the contents of a rather battered Tesco’s plastic bag – but soon had them enthralled as he turned sound samples from the empty can, paper and other assorted items it contained into a glorious electronic sound.

With an unconventional set of electronics as your musical tool kit technical problems are likely – but I don’t think I’ll ever hear an electronic artist apologies for a glitch with “bear with me one sec – my motorbike ain’t working….” I’d suggest Crewdson sound could be described as "Electronic via Tesco’s and the Playstation”.

Creatively showing what can be accomplished live with a laptop, assorted shopping, saxophone and Playstation controller, Crewdson put to shame those that use pre-recorded samples.

As Ultraista opened their set, the comparisons to previous celebrated incarnations of members of the band were inevitable. The Radiohead fans in the audience here to hear how the Godrich sound was moving forward, heard an up tempo mix with more pop than in the past. A clear contribution from D&C/Femme.

The D&C fans in the basement would be please that the visuals impact of that group continued – but the frog and rabbit mask for the male members of the band had been left in the dressing up box…
From Ultraista (Birthdays) 2012
From Ultraista (Birthdays) 2012

Unfortunately Party Line wasn’t on the set list – so I’m still not sure if the opening backing vocals really are “northern line” or the slightly more likely “more than I” of the main lyrics… It’s very possible that the fact that the track first came on my iPhone while stuck on the listening to Northern Line announcements influenced what I think I heard – but if you list carefully I’m sure you can hear how the mix up could occur…

The evening and the tour where brought to a close with a long list of thanks to those that had assisted with getting them to the end of this first tour.

Surely if won’t be long before Nigel is moving his latest creation on to similar stages as his previous associates, Radiohead – playing the O2 the following two nights – their followers really missed out if they hadn’t had the foresight to come to town one night early for a Sunday evenings entertainment in Dalston  - if they could have got hold of a ticket!

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