Dam Mantle - Nation of Shopkeepers Leeds - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Dam Mantle - Nation of Shopkeepers Leeds

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

If Tom Marshallsay aka Dam Mantle has a problem playing to an near-empty room he's good at not showing it. The electro whiz, responsible for some of 2011's best music, is positively convulsing as he hops from laptop to synth, synth to drum machine, then back to laptop, constantly tweaking, fiddling, tapping, bumping his equipment. The sounds respond accordingly: his fluid mix of dubstep, Warp-style electronica, break-beat and ambient wash is as mesmerising live as it is transporting to listen to on record. The guy is some kind of genius.

He's also the kind of artist who appears to be in no rush to please anyone but himself. So we're treated to a long, seamless, mid-paced ambient workout scattered with broken beats before, maybe 15 minutes into the set, motifs from his recent, excellent EP WE appear. So far this gig is going as well as you could wish for at Tom's end. However, trouble comes in the form of a couple of pissed-up twits who decide to dance 'ironically' to the music. It's a free gig, so what can you do? It's a guy and girl. He is wearing the distinctive tosser get-up of a hoodie and flip-flops (What possible meteorological conditions is he dressing for?), she is screaming quite a lot and attempting to pull innocent gig-goers onto the dance-floor for what I assume she refers to as a 'boogie'.

Dear God, what's she doing now? She's actually gone up to Tom, mid-twiddle, and it looks very much like she's asking him to play something more 'dancey'. Tom, bless him, handles it well, politely refusing while never looking up from his nest of wires and knobs. She stalks away with a stupid, 'poor me' pout all over her chops. I feel mortally shamed on behalf on Leeds right now but, miraculously, things actually improve from here on. More people move to fill the space yawning before Tom, swaying unironically to his music. Soon the dance-floor is, if not exactly heaving, then at least convulsing in the same way Tom is. It's brilliant. From here, everything feels right. Tom hits us with his recent single, the spooky 'Not a Word' before the irresistibly funky synth riff from 'Theatre' appears. Magic. After it's over, Tom thanks us for being such a great crowd. Bless.

If Dam Mantle are playing near you - go! But don't ask the guy bouncing behind the stack of tech to play something dancey. He'll get round to that in his own good time.

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