Live Review: Loop Brighton 2009
Having had a train cruelly cancelled on us (curse you transport gods!), Rivmixx rolled into Brighton later than intended. Equally cruelly, Loop festival had started without us and the festival-in-a-city was well underway.
Determined to make up for lost time, it was straight over to the Corn Exchange for a set from indie melody masters Fanfarlo. There’s been a lot of talk about this band of late and their recordings seem to show a lot of promise. Therefore, it was a great pleasure to see a band live up to the hype. Like Beirut without the dirge, their brand of melodic-indie-folk may be entering territory that the likes of Patrick Wolf and the Arcade Fire have already explored, but they steer clear of the a-melodic ambles of their contemporaries. In a live environment the group flourished and you have to wonder if its a tad selfish of Fanfarlo to use so many talented multi-instrumentalists (there’s six of them!) in one band.
Having caught a breather outside the stifling Corn Exchange, it was back in to catch folk-innovators Tunng. This was one of the band’s that Rivmixx was most excited about and the group didn’t disappoint. Whilst their set relied heavily on their last – highly-acclaimed – album ‘Good Arrows’, it was peppered with a selection of lesser known numbers. The group were clearly enjoying themselves, “This is a metal song.” Said lead man Mike Lindsay, before launching into ‘Soup’, complete with rock-leaps and acoustic guitar posturing. The obvious, and predicted, highlight was ‘Bullets’, which saw crowd sing-alongs and much good-natured bobbing all round.
Having decided it was time to check out Loop‘s other main venue, The Pavillion Theatre, Rivmixx headed round to catch a set from Scandinavian electro-heads Joakim and the Disco. Looking like Howard Moon fronting Hot Chip, the group unfortunately yielded none of the excitement that such a description would suggest. Their songs were danceable and driving, but for all their 8-bit synth experimentation and vocoder antics, the band failed to get a rise out of this reviewer.
Deciding to give Múm a go over at the Corn Exhange, the Scando-pop flowed a-fresh. Once again, the band were an interesting listen. Drum-heavy, orchestral and dark, the band were talented musicians, busily layering vocals and building crescendos. However, their sound was so similar to the other artists of the day that, although they were no less accomplished, some of the impact of their set was lost. It highlighted the problem of over-thinking festival programming, as a sense of ‘accidental variety’ can really enhance an experience.
Back in the Pavillion, the final act on Rivmixx’s schedule, local-heroes Fujiya and Miyagi, took to the stage. The group’s kraut-rock influenced analogue-disco had pulled in a large crowd and there were clearly some home-fans in the venue. As a band they were tight and the atmosphere was very chilled, but the group initially seemed slightly uninterested. However, a few songs in and they pulled themselves together, got into the gig and eventually provided a refreshing change from some of the samey electro acts that had occupied the stage earlier in the event.
Feeling thoroughly gigged up, Rivmixx staggered back up the hill to the station and rolled home to the city, clouds loomed heavy overhead and collective thoughts turned back to Brighton and next year’s Loop festival. Highly recommended.
Written for Rivmixx