LIVE: Belleruche @ Scala, Kings Cross
A Guitar, Turntables, An MPC, And A Soulful Voice
If there's one thing that test's your patience at a gig it's how long you generally have to wait for the main act to take the stage. But last night at Scala, as the glitteringly named Ricky Fabulous, Belleruche's guitarist, and the man in charge of the turntables and MPC, DJ Modest, stepped on stage and broke into classic track 'The Itch' the wait was immediately forgiven. With all heads in the venue bobbing to the rolling bassline and breakbeat of the track Kathrin deBoer emerged from the green-room and began to grace us with her voice of velvet.
The trio, who formed way back in 2005, are signed to Brighton based label Tru Thoughts and have just released their fourth album 'Rollerchain', which this current tour is in support of. Their first album 'Turntable Soul Music' is probably the most accessible out of all of their releases, each subsequent release, 'The Express' followed by '270 Stories', becoming more experimental. Perhaps, because they exist more prominently in the underground scene, they have the benefit and freedom of evolving in this way.
Once at the show the wealth of ecclectic material that they please the crowd with is endless. Their dark downtempo sound that they explore on latest album 'Rollerchain', embodied by tracks 'Wasted Time', 'Longer Days, Longer Nights' and 'Henbane', was unshakingly hypnotic, with just the twitches of DJ Modest's fingers, Fabulous' crop of bouncing hair and deBoer's graceful arm gestures breaking the serene facade. 'Stormbird', the album's first single, came across way better live last night than it does on the record, and the simple choppy arrangement of second single '16 Minutes' bounced beautifully off the venue's walls.
Cleverly, after being lulled into this place of mesmerism, the trio dug deep into their bag of tricks and pulled out some of their classic upbeat tracks from their first album to change the pace. Crowd-favourites 'Northern Girls' and 'Alice' had the bodies in the venue in a frenzy. Tracks closest to their roots off 'Rollerchain', like 'Get More' and 'Reach For The Bottle' had the same effect on the crowd too it must be said, prompting yelps and outbursts of appreciation.
As the set-closer, the beastly 'Minor Swing', with its sample of a barrage of brass driving it, fizzled out, and the crowd started filtering through the exit, every individual had one word in their head: 'cool'. That's what they are. The sound that Belleruche have cultivated over the years is just plain cool, all the pieces fit: the sharp metallic sound of Ricky Fabulous' guitar, DJ Modest's thumping beats and funky basslines, and Kathrin deBoer's irresistibly silky voice floating soulfully over the top of it all.
The innovation of their sound is hard to find paralleled anywhere else. Make sure you catch their next show.