live review

Shlohmo

Shlohmo

September 25 2014
Kings Arms Tavern, Auckland

Reviewed by Louisa Kasza
29th September 2014

Scene: a chilly Thursday evening. In my ignorance, I rolled up to the Kings Arms in a woolly jumper expecting a small-to-medium-sized crowd and a chill vibe. Instead, the double doors opened on a blast of dry ice and radiant heat from a sell out crowd. I hadnít reckoned on the dedication and hardy youth of Shlohmo fans. Good signs abounded: the turnout was hearteningly high, the atmosphere upbeat, the sets running outrageously late.

At that moment, the crowd were going nuts on opener Kamandiís pleasingly danceable set. The Christchurch producer, currently touring with Shlohmo, has been opening for a lot of international acts recently, and with his deft handling of both accessible pop beats and dizzying turns of musical phrase, itís easy to see why. He soon had the room more than prepped for the main act, with megafans of his own in attendance.

It was fortunate that Kamandi got the dance bug out of everyoneís systems, because Shlohmoís set was more of a listening party. One could dance, sure, but the music was distractingly interesting. Tracks were longer, murkier and denser, epics of sound running the emotional gamut from sad boy to transcendental rave. Onstage, Henry Laufer was engaging yet humble, the antithesis of the fistpumping electro producer. Visual effects via projector were understated yet effective, adding atmosphere to the stage while never eclipsing the musician - the word that sprang to mind while watching the set was tasteful. Underneath the peace signs and vaporwave trappings is an innate stylishness and restraint that sets Shlohmo apart.

Iím no raver - I freely admit to only a passing acquaintance with LA electronica, and strobe lights make me self-conscious. However, the beauty of whatís happening in electronica and perhaps music in general is the blurring of boundaries between perceived genres such as RnB, cerebral bedroom electronica and house (just donít call it Ďalternativeí). The attendees were a mixed bag, from eighteen-year-old George FM listeners flinging themselves about at the front to greying hardcore electronica fiends furiously nodding their heads in the back. Itís a testament to the inclusive nature of electronica of this kind. Not everyone was dancing, but they were all captivated.

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