Review: SBTRKT @ HMV Ritz, Manchester 23/02/12

I don’t know about you, but this curtain reminds me of an ink blot test used by psychologists.  I see a wizard carrying two balls. Does this say something about me? It doesn’t really matter… I hope.

What does matter is how SBTRKT’s show was excellent and the energetic crowd made the night. I was dancing on the balcony like a loon but downstairs was where the real party was. They loved Pharoahs and pretty much adored Wildfire, which featured a recording of rapper Drake over this live version. I was amazed at the multi-tasking going on; one minute the producer was playing the drums, then altering the pitch and conducting Sampha the next. It all sounded amazing and nowhere near as frantic as it looked.

It was extremely entertaining, inventive and attention grabbing, despite lasting just over an hour. The sensible side of me says that the timing must have been due to the producer playing one album’s worth of material but I wouldn’t be surprised that heat underneath the signature tribal masks both SBTRKT and long-term collaborator Sampha wore, got too much for them.  Sampha’s voice is just as beautiful in real life too.

Support came from Disclosure and the second half of their set really impressed me. Check out their tracks including my favourite, the remix of Jessie Ware’s ‘Running’, on Disclosure’s Soundcloud.

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