Jonnie Common, River of Slime and Shift-Static - Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh, Sat 9 Mar 2013
Mixed bag from Song, By Toad Bad Fun night
Tonight’s edition of Edinburgh indie label Song, By Toad’s BAD FUN series serves as a showcase for the world of current alt.electronica. First up, Shift-Static do a nice line in off-kilter electro-pop, melodic yet unafraid of some forays into experimentalism; the opening number is especially effective, a crescendo of bleeps, waves and vocal gymnastics that brings Imogen Heap to mind. River of Slime (aka sometime FOUND member Kev Sim) makes such experimenting his stock-in-trade, marshalling amorphous, often intolerable sounds and harsh, pre-programmed drum loops to challenge the listener before briefly rewarding us with some melodic hooks.
Headliner Jonnie Common has a new album in the wings, so tonight’s set is a mix of old favourites and new material. The newer stuff fits well with the overall Common sound, and his tendency to dwell in swamps of quirkiness is cancelled out by the presence of incredibly punchy live drums. Combine this with some brusque, no-nonsense stage patter (the words ‘crack on!’ are uttered more than once) and it makes for an enjoyable if short-lived performance: the set seems to fly by in just over 30 minutes, meaning some old favourites don’t make the cut.