The Cosmic Dead. The Total Refreshment Centre. Hackney.

12. December. 2014

If an imploding star makes any sound as it collapses into a Black Hole then The Cosmic Dead are probably replicating it in their billowing soundscapes. From the very first note they were at the heart of their burning star pounding out molten waves of intergalactic sound that rolled and tumbled forward and nowhere but the present. Swept up and blissed out the audience danced in this universe of ramshackle euphoria. The evening resembled something of the Art School Dance that goes on forever with visiting sonic balladeers. The Total Refreshment Centre or should I say,  outhouse to the cosmos made a fitting space with a stage that barely contained it’s visiting space travellers. It felt as much ‘Happening’ as gig and perhaps that’s what gives this Glaswegian outfit their irresistible charm. There is nothing pretentious in their sonic maelstrom or their uninhibited stage antics, just pure joy in their collapsing star of noise. A Black Hole worth never returning from…

Written by a Thoroughly Modern Man, Hugh Hamshaw-Thomas.

Janelle Monae, Brixton Academy

I’m still not really sure what the word swagger means, but if pressed to define it, I’d say Janelle Monae sums it up. This little lady has more soul, rhythm and flair than any other modern musician. It is rare to see a singer-songwriter with such mesmerising moves and infectious energy. By the final song she had the whole floor bouncing.

Hailing from Kansas, Monae or the Electric Lady as she’s commonly known, has wowed British crowds for a few years now, popping up previously at summer festivals. I have seen her once before at Latitude Festival, when her cheeky talent was equally impressive. With her second album out, she is currently touring the UK spreading the joy of her music to every major city.

I joined a boisterous crowd at Brixton Academy for her, as always, monochrome show. Wearing a sharp tailored black outfit, she showcased her oeuvre – her set combined songs from the first and second albums, the singles particularly exciting the crowd.

Tightrope, her most celebrated track, was electrifying. I was oblivious to my surroundings as I screamed the lyrics with her and danced about madly in appreciation. Electric Lady was a blast too; as her voice soared on the melodic runs, the crowd joined in enthusiastically, not as tuneful as the star on stage but equally happy. I also really enjoyed her rendition of ABC made famous by the Jackson 5 which carried all the same youthful spirit as the original.

The crowd left elated, truly inspired by a musician who genuinely possesses a unique talent, Janelle Monae I salute you.

More information about Janelle Monae here.

Glitches, Halcyon Nights, Aldgate East

Aldgate East is not an area I know well – I normally avoid this end of the District Line. However, for one night only, I made the journey east in search of the indie electro band, Glitches, and their wacky secret gig.

This chilled out three piece brand their sound as “organic imperial grooves”. Music geeks may have heard their most familiar tracks ‘Warm Seas’ and ‘Leper’ on John Kennedy’s Xposure Show on XFM. The regular music event ‘Halcyon Nights’ showcases several upcoming bands, with Glitches as the final headlining act. Halcyon XII took place at the boys’ digs, that is a dowdy hard-to-find flat in Aldgate East. Luckily we could hear the clicking drums from the street otherwise we would never have located them.

A clammy but cheerful crowd had gathered inside, each person clutching a can of beer. Photocopied pages were stuck casually on the walls and bright lights flickered on the band members’ faces. I preferred the more upbeat tracks, ‘Leper’ has an addictive rhythm and uplifting melody. Glitches play catchy music that is easy to listen to. The mellow vibe has gained them many fans, and they are often flown overseas to entertain international followers.

Glitches: coming to a festival near you, sooner than you think.