wed 17/07/2024

Jockstrap, Heaven review - ecstasy in underground bass | reviews, news & interviews

Jockstrap, Heaven review - ecstasy in underground bass

Jockstrap, Heaven review - ecstasy in underground bass

A polished, excellently discordant, performance from a young band

Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye of JockstrapJockstrap by Eddie Whelan
Jockstrap’s crowd, in the vaults of Heaven, was always going to be beautiful and effortlessly cool. Ushered in by a ticket-check clerk sporting love bites, the dreamy sounds of the warm-up act, Pablo, filled the underground space.
The audience, already packed in, swelled to full capacity over the night, singing along and swaying to a heavy, bassy throb.
Jockstrap themselves were excellent, but played through each song without talking to the crowd, which at times made it feel as though they were just running through their new album (with a few other hits thrown in), a not uncommon feeling with newer bands. 
Pablo was an excellent act, singing in both Spanish and English, a plush sound that belied his simple set up – one man and his machines. At times he was behind his keyboard, picking out soft love songs, then he moved to the front of the stage, a great presence. He was definitely someone who seems destined for bigger things, bringing these into being by writing himself proper ballads with a beating heart. These were complex, combining guitar and piano with voice, both autotuned and natural, and a pattern of electronic sounds. 
After a long break, Jockstrap appeared onstage, Georgia Ellery (also of Black Country, New Road) on vocals, guitar, and violin, and Taylor Skye on keys, synths, and everything else. The two were followed around the stage by a videographer, transmitting with a slight delay to a low-res screen behind them. Ellery, wearing a ribbed two-piece vest and long skirt, used a short, tight plait as punctuation, dancing across the stage as they opened with "Jennifer B". The driving beat of the song became erratic and discordant, Ellery’s singing playing above it with an assured lightness. 
Next up was "Neon", the first song on their new album, buzzing into life. An initially stripped back sound was cut through with bass and electronic harshness, a crescendo of discordancy. "Acid" was proceeded by "Robert", a jerky throb and thrust, Ellery’s minimal vocals giving her the chance to dance to the whirr and crackle of the tune. "Greatest Hits" followed, with its catchy beats, the repeated autotuned "baby girl" an arch comment on the "hits" as they are.  
"What’s it All About" returned the sound to just Ellery’s voice and her guitar for a soupy intro, before turning back to a ripple of keys and fuzz of the bass. Similarly, "Glasgow", coming in with harp rills and a silky, flamenco-like guitar, descended into a pulsing hum, another catchy song sung sweetly by a loving audience, clearly enjoying themselves. "Lancaster Court" had something approaching 1970s folk psychedelia with more of an edge, with an obvious hint of Kate Bush. "Concrete Over Water" saw Ellery play her violin as a seething riot of sinister noise, paired with Skye’s crushing drum beat, adored by the crowd.  
"The City" was a soft and melancholy keening, Ellery’s hair playing in the wind as she sung to keys. Her voice dissolved into the sticky throb of "I Want Another Affair", distorting wildly from high to low. During the last song, "50/50", a thrusting club beat, I closed my eyes to enjoy the bass and missed how it happened, but suddenly Pablo and a man wearing only his boxers and beanie were dancing onstage, a truly excellent and wild finale to their performance. Stunning all around, they were perhaps let down only by absolutely zero conversation with their audience, but perhaps this was all part of their mysterious, beautiful act. 
An initially stripped back sound was cut through with bass and electronic harshness, a crescendo of discordancy


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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