live review

Live Review: She & Him @ Koko, 7 May 2010

To call the crowd at last week's She & Him gig at Koko in London 'fanboys' would only be wide-of-the-mark insofar that there seemed to be just as many girls looking to declare their love for lead singer (and Hollywood star) Zooey Deschanel as their were boys.

Fan-people, then. And inevitably it is possible to feel slightly alienated in such a crowd, particularly when ever second of silence is instantly filled with an offer to impregnate a member of the band, yet She & Him were both able to rise above it. Things may not have started perfectly - Deschanel spent virtually no time interacting with the audience between numbers and the nature of their catalogue means the best was bound to come towards the end, but as the duo warmed up and Zooey opened up the songs began to speak for themselves.

Interestingly the performance had several levels of performance - a full band with two backing singers, the full band without the extra singers and finally just Deschanel and M. Ward.  The differing levels helped make the event flow through what is otherwise a set of songs that are similar in styles but the gig was undoubtedly at its best when stripped back to just Ward and Deschanel with performances of 'You Really Got a Hold On Me' and the duo's cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' 'I Put A Spell On You', both of which enraptured the audience - especially the latter's extremely long notes from Zooey.

A performance that veered from enjoyable to, at times, thrilling.

BP x

Live Review: Red Bull Music Academy presents 12x12

Following our recent competition BlackPlastic figured we better taste the pudding with Red Bull's 12x12 event at the Scala.

Be under no illusion - this was a made for TV production with a line up designed to present the maximum number of photo opportunities. Not that the line up wasn’t worthy or even good, but the whole concept, designed to celebrate London’s dance culture, in many ways missed the point. 12 DJs and producers each playing their biggest hit for 12 minutes with more photographers in attendance than punters makes for a strange vibe and ironically, something unlike any London club night over the last 20 years of nights that we were there to celebrate.

Forgive us for being churlish, we’re sure it looked great in the trade press and the event’s corporate veneer did mean we had unprecedented access to the stars. It also made for some compulsively bizarre viewing, MJ Cole gurning his way through an MP3 of 'Sincere' stands out - twelve minutes just about saved by the bizarreness and Cole having Nero's rather more contemporary dubstep remix of the track to fall back on.

Arthur Baker was a ubiquitous presence throughout the Scala for personal photo-ops but when he played Planet Rock you remembered why this clash of German electro and funk was so epoch-making. Martyn Ware predictably played 'Temptation', unpredictably, he played a version with a 90s Euro-dance beat and sang over the top. Just as the embarrassment got too much, like your dad doing karaoke, he saved it by playing his stylish, 80s ballad 'Let Me Go', and that shows what a good song 'Let Me Go' is.

Despite all the pretence, it was the drum and bass DJs who stole the show for the crowd by playing jump-up greatest hits sets with the night’s genuine highlight coming when Ms Dynamite joined Zinc on stage for a rip-snorting p.a. of 'Wile Out'.

We suppose 12x12 proved that the most important element of any night is something that all the DJs and crates of Red Bull in the world can’t make up for, something that Russ Abbott presciently referred to as ‘atmosphere.’

BP x