I had never been to the Roundhouse before. I was there, with my pint, at my most touristic, reading the History panel like a goon. Ramones, post-punk, Spiral Tribe, bonfires indoors, site-life, community centre, community centre part deux, internationally renowned venue.

Gaika
Gaika

It’s a beautiful place, and as I entered the main hall there was nothing obstructing my view of the gloriously preserved architecture. It did fill up after a bit though.

Smoking Area Mini-Review: Drunk Scandinavian lasses telling their newly cuffed friend that if he doesn’t respect her, he’s not worth it [emphasis there’s]. A man with similar but much better hair than my own. Friends of one performer talking about how moving it was when their man played in the rehearsal space earlier in the day. Very nice chairs but not a lot of them. 8/10 

The stage was set up for headliners and each support act did not fail in their billing as future headliners. These were pumping sets of terror-techno, blah de blee many genres with big bass and rhythms.

Of the support, some standouts. Virgen Maria attracted plenty of attention in a get-up that left little to the imagination of the immersed after-work crowd. On the three moosive screens behind all artists were the works of chef-kiss quality digital artists. 

Virgen Maria had a render of herself as grotesquely thicc centaur (no hair though). Her paralysing beats were haunting, an uncanny subversion of what’s hot mate.

Other acts were backed by the generative art of infinite fractals and video feedback. I like. So much so that I was engrossed in these visuals more than the sounds, until, Flohio comes on.

Flohio
Flohio. Source: l’officiel

“I just wanted to be happy making music, it allows me to be so free.”- Flohio (Crack, 2018)

She’s there surely. Her voice occasionally cracking as she poured out a ‘formance of rapid rap. Man jumping on the decks – check that vertical lift on the Tweet vid.

Flohio stormed the Roundhouse and for my money, outshone the main man who followed – thee Gaika. R n B mastery.

As Gaika came on stage the crowd and I were feeling buoyed by what Flohio had left us with. The 10-piece got their shit together and the show was on. It started slow, it picked up, but it never really lifted me up. 

The sound wasn’t great, at one off-point I turned to the sound man who gave me his best “I don’t know” face. Hm. 

This was a more soulful (but not Soul) Gaika than what I was used to. There was an error. Everyone has their off nights. The crowd thinned a bit. A hula-hooper came and bandied about near me. How did that get through security? Disguised as a belt no doubt.

I don’t doubt for a second these are acts that’ll be headlining tomorrow, this was a good night, it was not what I expected, each act was headlining their own slot. The waves kept crashing, sometimes with dissonance.

For more of a mood board on the night, check these tracks:

Virgen Maria’s ¡SING! set

‘Bands’ by Flohio

Gaika live

Gaika’s ‘Crown and Key’

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