Triptych Club Nights

Buraka Som Sistema

Buraka Som Sistema

Living for the weekend

David Pollock checks out the live acts gracing the stages at various club nights across Glasgow and Edinburgh for the final ever Triptych

For the last ever Triptych, performance is more crucial than ever. It’s nothing new to declare bands who find their natural habitat in clubs as a developed and established trend over the last couple of years. What does seem worth commenting on, however, is just how completely they have come to take over. In 2008, if your club night doesn’t come with a band, a laptop MC or at least a DJ with some kind of well-thought-out stage shtick, you’re in the minority. A pretty boring one too, unless your guest record player happens to be astonishingly good.

Triptych, presumably in an effort to squeeze more bookings into an evening and make it easier for fans to take in a couple of shows in one night, have been at the forefront of this movement in Scotland. This year, a selection of artists old and new (to the festival and otherwise) takes to the stage after midnight, and they’re a broad church. For the old-timers – and certainly bearing in mind her famous collaboration with The Source on ‘You Got the Love’ – Candi Staton will introduce some after hours lovin’ to the party. London reggae legend Jah Shaka brings his soundsystem north for a couple of parties which couldn’t work any way other than long into the night, while improvisational masters The Bays and recently converted ‘white Prince’ Jamie Lidell will also be showing up in the small hours. Yet, with the disappointing news that Krautfunk choir Chrome Hoof have had to pull out of their Optimo date (Alter Ego are set to fill the gap), Lisbon’s Buraka Som Sistema (playing Kinky Afro) will surely skate closest to the zeitgeist over the weekend.

A favourite of style mag hip priests in recent months, BSS are a trio of producers (two Portuguese, one Angolan) who play kuduro, a type of African hip hop which the group blend with techno in the Angolan precincts of their home city. While they often play as a full band with a troupe of backing dancers, this will be the slimmed-down but still vibrant DJs and MC set.

‘If we DJ without an MC,’ says BSS’ Joao ‘Li’l John’ Pekeno, ‘I find it impossible to stand for two hours in front of people and not communicate, even if I have to stop the music and say a few words. People need to connect with something, and if they do it makes the show go smoother, the time doesn’t take so long to pass. I find it helps to sing to people for two or three songs, at least.’

He adds: ‘We also have our live show, which makes us really feel like this is a proper project. We take it to clubs, with the visuals, the drums and even more interaction with the crowd, but the reaction’s just the same as the DJ set. People still dance.’

The comparison between both shows is one we won’t see here or, in fact, ever again at Triptych. Once the festival’s over for good, however, that music which is closest to the cutting edge is increasingly going to be found way past bedtime.

Triptych, various venues, Glasgow & Edinburgh, Fri 25–Sun 27 Apr, see listings for details.

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