REVIEW gig Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Nice one, Shlohmo

The streets of hackney are awash with a surge of trendy white twenty-somethings, more than usual for the London borough as they’ve made the pilgrimage east to see prodigal son of genre-gobbling electronica: Shlohmo.

IMG_0136They’re keen, albeit bewildered, and each lost reveler frantically makes eyes with someone who looks like they know where they’re going. Someone over there does! ‘bout bloody time. Tucked just off the sprawling London fields The Laundry isn’t so lush as it’s neighbouring sprawling parkland. What awaits behind the cast iron gates is a hangar sized subterranean bunker that can’t quite contain the gruff X Rated cloud rap hollers of San Jose’s ANTWON. The kids from the street made it in and headed either quick-sharp to the stage for some teeth-sucking skanking at the front or towards the back for a petered but appreciative nod. Cheers, ANTWON, we’re more than ready for the main event.   The crowd dissipates between sets jostles of young-but-probably-even-younger-than-they-look girls squeeze through armpits to the front, interlocking arms and waving to their friends to show off their boutique-fest bands ‘n’ gap year rag bracelets. Cynicism abound, further back it’s the real fans. There are mummers of discontent as the set-straddling-gap DJ drops a David Guetta track. You wouldn’t know it from the girlish screams from the barrier-babez, mind. Ssssh it’s him. Oh wait, no, it’s a soundman. He gets a cheer anyway though. Okay now it’s the real deal. Nope another soundman, but he gets another holler ‘cause he’s doing a great job too, sure, why not. Watch now, here he is the man himself: Shlohmo slopes on. Shlohmo, aka Californian Henry Laufer, throws his arms up confidently but his eyes look surprisingly timid. He’s got no worries, the crowd is begging for his special brand of brain-melting instrumentals, vocal warping and elastic blown out beats for Flying Lotus fanatics. And it’s really bloody beautiful, sharp but silky-sweet and delicate. As the stakes get higher the crowd wind up, eventually two feet off the ground jumping up and down. Much to the dislike of the gaggle of boutique fest tweenies at the front. Whilst the head bangers go wild the sample-academics and electro-scholars edge back, still aghast with amazement at his seemingly unconfident but so-not that skills. He’s pleased with himself. And rightly so. Everyone’s euphoric and the flurry of haunting synth lines raises the stakes even higher. He knows exactly what he’s doing and releases us on a cinematic high. What a bloody heartbreaker. Whilst the stage set up and live-gig framing seems contrived, the baying crowed still sway as Shlohmo says his goodbyes. They’re not letting him get away that easy. He duly obliges giving his swooning crowd one more hit before they head off home. The lights come up and whether jumping at the front or swaying at the back the crowd are left elated, bleary eyed and bewildered once again. 8/10
Alexandra Horner Big thanks to Julian at House of 27.