by Little Miss B, 16th Feb 2010. All photography by Rachel Ferriman for The Girls Are...
Tune Yards + Trash Kit + Think About Life @ Cargo, Mon 15th feb.
There was a lot of love in Cargo last night. Hyperactive, anticipatory, gleeful love. Packed to the rafters, we unfortunately arrived just as openers Think About Life were finishing their set (luckily for us, they will be supporting White Rose Movement at Thursday's Hoxton show). Trash Kit followed with their particular and original brand of shambolic and riotous girl noise. As ever, this three-piece put on a brilliant show: pounding, tribal rhythms, short, punchy anthemic tracks, and many a smile-inducing moment. As ever, this three-piece took a few songs to warm up and get into their stride: they experienced timing and tuning issues throughout the set, yet managed to hold it all together with charm and laughter. The only gripe I ever have with seeing this band play live, is that their sound levels are never quite right: considering the two Rachels (singer and drummer) have such great voices and interesting harmonies, it never seems to make much sense to me that the vocals are always the quietest facet of Trash Kit live. Finishing the set with a cover of 'No Limits' (sending the crowd into utter delirium) was the cherry on top of a stirling show.
I have only recently been introduced to the sheer brilliance that is Tune Yards, and I cannot believe I have lived this long without her in my life. Tune Yards is the brainchild of New Englander Merrill Garbus, and is pure, unadulterated genius. Fusing african beats, world music, reggae, folk, dance, pop and some of the most incredible vocals I have ever heard, she is unclassifiable. Loving her music, but not knowing what to expect from a live show, I was floored. This was one of the most powerful and inspiring performances I have ever seen, and I doubt anyone else in the crowd would beg to differ.
Two drums, two mics, a dizzying array of pedals and a bass player set the stage. Launching into the opening lines of 'Bizness', an unassuming, cheery, war-painted lady went on to hook every member of the audience, wrap them around her little finger, and not let go, long after the second encore ended (I am still giddy). She seamlessly mixed audience favourites ('Hatari' being a highlight) with new tracks, deftly using the loop pedal and minimal on-stage instruments to recreate the complex, layered sound of her album. Her fervid, earthy voice caused spine-tingles and goose bumps all round, and such was the volume of the audience's response, this insanely talented lady was forced to perform both new track 'You Yes You', and popular favourite 'Sunlight' during the encore.
If you only see one show in 2010, make sure it is Tune Yards. If you are not blown away, I fear there might be something seriously wrong with you. As the fantastic Ruth Barnes said to me before we left, I feel we have just witnessed something really quite special.
To hear Ruth's interview with Merrill, head on over to The Other Woman: