Thursday, 25 March 2010

Live review: RBRBR EP launch


The GRV, Edinburgh
Saturday 20 March 2010

This may be the launch show for RBRBR’s shiny new Bobby Masicks EP, but it doubles as a handy opportunity to catch some of Scotland's finest electro-indie acts live.

Dead Boy Robotics are up first, and if you're a regular reader you'll need no introduction to this Edinburgh duo. The interplay between the live instruments, vocal harmonies and backing tracks is well orchestrated, the disparate sounds coming together in unexpected ways - each song like the surprising outcome of a successful experiment.

The use of the floor toms during synchronised rhythm breaks adds a welcome bit of showmanship to an otherwise low-key stage presence. A little more energy in the delivery wouldn't go amiss, but DBR still show the inventiveness for which they're becoming known, and much is expected of their EP, due out in May.

Any Color BlackThings get off to a promising start for Glaswegian 'house rock' two-piece Any Color Black, with strong vocals and rock-star poses suggesting a more upbeat set to come. Mixing live guitars with laptop beats, the bells and whistles serve to disguise more conventionally-structured songs, bringing to mind polished 90’s electro-poppers Garbage and their ilk.

Perhaps it’s the mix tonight, but the disparate strands don’t mesh as you might hope, with the guitars often sounding more like an afterthought than an integral cog. The crowd too don’t seem as engaged, with chatter audible in the quieter moments. All the pieces are in place and the performance is competent, but somehow it never quite gels. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what is missing, but there's something about this performance that sadly fails to satisfy.

RBRBROn then to the headliners and the reason for tonight’s get-together. RBRBR have been plying their trade for a few years now, and have used that time to conjure up their own madcap world. With cardboard cut-outs of demented animals from their EP artwork decorating the stage, and band members adorned variously in fairy lights, fighter-pilot uniforms and ninja outfits, it's a strange and intriguing place.

The benefit of the first live drummer of the evening is immediately felt as the band bounce into EP opener ‘Maff’. The full band helps the whole performance feel more organic than what has come before, which is not to say that there aren’t lashings of electronic beats and unfeasibly deep bass tones pumping through the speakers. This is amply demonstrated in final number ‘Masick’s Groove’, a dance-a-long beast of a tune.

With this EP launch RBRBR show that they can match their recorded talents in person. Mission accomplished.

Words: Craig Dickson

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Sunday, 27 September 2009

Radar recommends: 27 Sep - 3 Oct

[Kochka: launching their second EP at Mono on Thursday]

It's Sunday. Perhaps you're still in bed nursing a hangover. Or maybe you're surrounded by the papers and coffee. Or idly browsing your friends' Facebook updates.

Whatever you're doing, it can't be that important. So go and grab your diary and take note of which gigs to attend this week...

Strike the Colours, Zoey Van Goey
Sunday @ Electric Circus / 7pm / £4
The twee-meter will probably self-combust at this leg of these two bands' joint UK tour. Also playing Stereo, Glasgow on Friday.

Trapped in Kansas - CANCELLED, Glasgow gig still on
Wednesday @ Sneaky Pete's / 7pm / £tbc
One of the most talked about bands in Scotland at the moment, and rightly so. Also playing Stirling Uni on Thursday and the Flying Duck, Glasgow on Friday.

The Mill: Be A Familiar, Cancel the Astronauts
Thursday @ Cabaret Voltaire / 7pm / Free but ticketed
We were wondering if straight-up indie-pop bands still existed. This gig may be the proof.

Stanley Odd
Friday @ The GRV / 7pm / £5
The latest act to come off Scotland's small but diverse hip hop production line.

Bloc Party, Grammatics
Saturday @ HMV Picture House / 7pm / £22.50
Never heard of 'em. Much kop?

The Low Miffs & Malcolm Ross
Sunday @ Nice N Sleazy's / 7.30pm / £tbc
Killer kitsch guitar pop - 80s indie legend joins forces with the energetic Miffs.

**UtR's gig of the week**
Kochka (EP launch)
Thursday @ Mono / 8pm / £tbc
The Glasgow/Falkirk/Stirling/Perth/York band (how the heck do they rehearse?) launch their Dacha/Summerhouse EP, with help from Idlewild guitarist Rod Jones (his first ever solo gig), The John Langan Band and Errors' Stephen Livingstone on the decks.

Any Color Black, RBRBR, Fridge Magnets, Skitten
Friday @ Captain's Rest / 8pm / £tbc
Pull some shapes (the more angular the better) at this Friday night electro-frazzled party.

Three Blind Wolves, The John Knox Sex Club, Martin John Henry
Saturday @ Captain's Rest / 7.30pm / £4
Three Blind Wolves used to be Ross Clark & the Scarves Go Missing but have opted for a more equalitarian name now. Support from the enigmatically brilliant John Knox Sex Club and former De Rosa frontman Martin John Henry.

What have we missed? Tell us below, or add it to our gig guide by emailing

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Thursday, 5 March 2009

Introducing... Any Color Black

Any Color Black

The story of how Louise and Andy - two halves of Glaswegian electro-rock duo Any Color Black - came together is quite appropriate: "We met at 4am one morning on Glasgow’s Buchanan Street while in search of some post drink snacks and a taxi home. Somehow we ended up in a shopping trolley and have been tolerating each other ever since."

Appropriate, because the music of Any Color Black is synonymous with a properly debauched night out - a distorted yet focussed musical vision that combines throbbing electro-bass and frenetic guitars (although the shopping trolley doesn't feature in the end product).

Having supported the likes of Goose and Ladyhawke in 2008, as well as releasing their debut EP 'Touch Me' , they kicked off 2009 with an o2 Academy Live tour and an Apple Store performance.

We didn't ask about the spelling of 'color' but we can only guess that they plan to break America some time soon.

Listen to 'As You Are. As You Were' by Any Color Black:

Any Color Black play The GRV, Edinburgh tonight (5 March) and the Captain's Rest, Glasgow on 10 March.

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