Final Fantasy

Posted by jill on May 28, 2009

Final Fantasy, originally uploaded by jellybeanz.

For all the moaning about gigs in terrible venues, there is the odd occasion when bands play at the perfect venue. Never has there been a more perfect match than Final Fantasy playing at the Union Chapel. The only more perfect situation would be the dream of Final Fantasy playing in my living room.

Back to reality, the way that his music drifted around the church sent the audience off to a magical world, and every single note was heard in a full silence. Playing a set half full of songs off the forthcoming album, Owen Pallett could have carried on forever.

Of the highlights of the new material, possibly my favourite new song is Lewis Takes Off His Shirt (although this video misses off the fantastic climax of the song). But old and new material alike, it is just astounding to watch him as he co-ordinates between sampling and looping his violin, plucking and bowing it, even using it as a percussion instrument and performing in the dark.

What added to the music was the projection show. It started off as a series of live performed shadow images to a projection screen, but halfway through the set the light of the projector was turned towards the ceiling of the church instead and the lights danced around the venue.

On the face of it, all the constituent parts of the show (the single violin and keyboard and old school projector) seemed to be so basic and simple. But through the genius of Owen’s magical performance and the accompany projections, it seemed like something extraordinary.


A bad London gig experience redeemed by an excellent headline set and an amusing journey home

Posted by jill on February 29, 2008

Halfway through the gig tonight, I began to question whether I should give up on gigs of a certain size. Tiny gigs are fun, because generally the audience is full of people who are there to hear and enjoy music. The shows I tend to go to are usually full of people who would stop talking during a band’s set, so they can listen to the show. Large capacity shows too are great, because of the mass experience, when you’re in a crowd of thousands either all dancing or singing along. The annoying people disappear in among the crowd, so you don’t notice them too much. I’ve noticed that in the last year or so, I always have problems with gigs for 2000-3000 people. Last year, it was at Beirut at the Roundhouse and Super Furry Animals at the Zodiac. One that could have nearly joined those two was tonight’s Final Fantasy gig.

Just a warning, I may begin to rant like an old person from this point.
There are two common problems at these gigs. Firstly, people who talk all the way through the show. I admit that I used to do this too, but possibly not to the extent that annoys me nowadays. One particular puzzle is why people pay £15-£20 for a ticket, only to spend the evening ignoring the music and shouting at each other? If they do want to talk to each other, surely it’s easier to chat if they head to the back of the venue, instead of talking right in front of the stage. For example tonight, during Dirty Projector’s set, I heard more about their Black Flag cover album from someone standing behind me, than the music they were performing in front of us.

The other problem, is just who goes to these shows? I notice that when gigs get to this size, there are people in the audience who might be more comfortable at an Arctic Monkeys gig or something similar. Again, at tonight’s show there were people who tried to clap along to the beat during the quietest moments of Final Fantasy’s set, and my particular favourite, overhearing people nearby saying ‘This is a bit gay. Let’s just go to the pub’.

rant over

However, for all my moaning, Final Fantasy’s set tonight was wonderful. Although the sound was disappointing for the first three bands, Frog Eyes, Six Organs of Admittance and Dirty Projectors, from Alexander Tucker and Stephen O’Malley’s set onwards the sound improved. Again, the FF audience weren’t probably prepared for the Tucker and O’Malley set, but focusing through the chatter, it reminded me how patterns emerge from droney sounds.

It’s remarkable how Final Fantasy could top this diverse line up, play to such a large audience and only do it with his laptop, violin, keyboard and pedals. On top of all that, play around four new songs. It was so nice to hear that the new songs continue in the progress between the last two albums, however the highlights were the older songs, including The Dream of Win and Regine. I just wish the next time, he could play somewhere smaller, where people would stop and listen to the music.

My mood for the evening began to improve from around 10pm onwards. And the journey home might possibly be a highlight after FF for tonight. Getting the bus back to Liverpool St, we were joined after Angel by a gang of 30 or so quite drunk people. It turned out this gang contained at least 3/4 of the Mystery Jets (who had been playing elsewhere in London tonight) and one We Are Scientist. One Mystery Jet was even polite enough to apologise for the noise they made when he got off the bus. So there are some nice people in London after all.


Non gig post

Posted by jill on November 12, 2007

Back in April, I briefly wrote about the takeaway shows, a series of videos of bands performing in and around Paris. In the last few months they’ve posted videos of Final Fantasy running down the street, Beirut performing on a street corner, little kiddies dancing to Menomena and Liars drumming a lift. But now, in the collision of some of my favourite things this year, there is a video of Jonquil performing in a park. Their songs don’t have quite the same impact without the rolling drums, but there’s something quite special about the way they sound stripped down.

#72 – JONQUIL – Part2
Uploaded by lablogotheque

PS. I wished the crowd at the Beirut gig on Saturday reacted to the last song like this (another classic Blogotheque video). English audiences sometimes are a bit rubbish