Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cornelius's Sensuous Showcase

I nearly didn't go to this concert. Grief.

Cornelius was opened by Mountains in the Sky and Crayon Fields.

I'd been curious about MinS for a while, but I'm not sure why. On thinking, I was probably crossing wires with Explosions in the Sky, a rather awesome prog rock group. They're playing in the same musical field though, so I wasn't disappointed with my unrelated expectations. They play electronica, a lot of found sounds involved, and were quite good at bringing up a catchy beat. Unfortunately, the set they performed this night was plagued by technical difficulties, which they could have hidden, but instead showed their panic on stage, which I found painful to watch. Regardless, I bought their CD. Not that I've been able to listen to it yet, what with having a dead iPod, stupid bloody iPod.

CF, in contrast, played a fantastically tight set. They were a bunch of adorable dorks, trendily untrendy nerds, if that makes sense. I have no idea what genre they'd be slotted in. Some of their music reminded me of the Beach Boys, and some of it not so much. Good stuff, and I would definitly recommend catching them live, even if it's just to check out Mr Funky Xylophone man.

The Cornelius show, because it wasn't a gig, it was a whole show, started as they were setting up, with a teeth-grindingly annoying ever-so-slightly out of sync
'bip...bop...bop...bip' ping-ponging from one speaker to another. This continued for half an hour or so, until the lights came on, putting four colour bars on the white screen set up behind the stage. Each time a speaker bipped, a different colour bar came on. By this time, the crowd was a little restless and drunk, and started cheering every time a bip/colour change happened. Except for blue. For some reason, blue was booed quite vehemently.

And then, yes, at last! The band came out, tiny little Japanese people doing tiny little Japanese bows, and took up their instruments.

The bipping then controlled not just the colour bars, but the musician that stood in that colour. Turn by turn they played little bits and pieces, dribs and drabs, a tinkle of super mario, faster and faster until the chaos became a coherant piece of music, and they proceded to perform the greatest show I've ever seen.

The music was accompanied by a light show which was not just flashing lights, or random images thrown up on a screen to fill the space while the audience stares at the band, rather the opposite. The band were as unobtrusive as possible, directing all attention to the great show around them. One song was accompanied by a constant scrolling animation of birds, silhouetted against a twilight sky as trees and buildings whirled past. Another with perfectly and disturbingly syncronised mouths popping up everywhere. Drop was played to some astonishing footage of water, another a surrel montage watching someone walk their fingers through a mundane desk top. Unfortunately, I don't have a set list handy, and the internet doesn't know either.

The animation and the playing was so intricately linked, it was down to slivers of seconds, and it was perfect. Stunning. Faaaaaaaaaan-bloody-tastic.

I don't imagine they'll be back for another handful of years, but when they do, keep them in mind. Even if you don't know the music, they're more than worth seeing. I ran home full of delight and squees.

And I'm sorry for booing at the blue. That was the bassist. Didn't know. Really sorry.

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