Son Lux - XOYO, London - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Son Lux - XOYO, London

by Priscilla Eyles Rating:9 Release Date:2012-04-29

Son Lux is ably supported tonight for this sold out gig (nice to see such a unique underground artist picking up fans) by Sun Glitters, who specialises in hypnotic, glitchy, pulsating, melodic and spacious ambient music with lots of manipulated vocal samples, making for a Berlin club atmosphere in the cooler-than-thou space of XOYO. Luxembourg musician Victor Ferreira is certainly one to watch and the crowd are definitely enjoying themselves.

When Son Lux (Ryan Lott) comes onto play 'Alternate World', the opener from genius latest album Lanterns, it is certainly an epic moment, teasing us with a snippet of 'Lost It to Trying' and featuring some lovely subtle slide guitar work from talented guitarist Rafiq Bhatia. The song slowly builds, with the steady and strong drumbeat of the equally talented Ian Chang, till it gets to a great rhythmic, hip-hop-like breakdown which everyone has a good old dance too, Ryan Lott included.

Lott is a mesmerising performer. Clearly immersed in the music, he performs a lot of the set with eyes closed, head nodding, arms widespread, fists either clenched, clutching at his t-shirt or playing his midi-keyboard with attached sequencer with joyous abandon (proving you really can get an amazingly full sound from just three musicians as long as you have the right equipment), and throwing his body about to the many musical breakdowns in the set. That distinctive, entrancing, querulous, fragile and world-weary voice is just as it is on record. He proves his ability to reach those high notes without much trouble.

The changes in the pace of the set also keep the audience engaged and interested, seguing from the slow-paced 'Alternate World' to the raucous, distorted and edgier 'No Crimes' with its awesome woodwind samples (reminding me of My Brightest Diamond’s chamber pop) and ridiculously fast-paced drums (Chang reminds me at times of Animal in The Muppets with his manic ability to play those rapid rhythms, and really makes me want to play the drums). The song’s progression to stately piano chords over rolling drums in the outro (“All you ever wanted/ All you ever need/ Your brand new history”) reminds you of Lott’s great ability to really take an audience to different places in one song.

Highlights, and there were many, included a passionate rendition of the amazing 'Easy', with its infectious arrhythmic blasts of baritone saxophone triggered on Lott’s keyboard and sequencer. It has a ghostly Theremin sound and 808 beat, with Bhatia going crazy performing a great improvised (or at least it sounded that way), distorted Neil Young-like guitar solo in the outro with Ryan stripping the song down to its piano chords. It had the whole crowd moving, the rhythm had definitely got them and me.

'Ransom' has a great synth-line and driving pulse. Ryan really lets it rip with his most passionate vocals (and yelps). Meanwhile, 'Pyre' is even more hypnotic live with its choral surges and sudden bursts of rock-out sections where everyone goes wild, Rafiq jumping up and down.

The excellent 'Lost It to Trying' really took everyone in with its vocal-sampled keyboard line (which Lott plays with relish) and relentless pace performed with relentless energy. It included an eccentric breakdown of heavy metal and then ska guitar. Everyone on stage is clearly having fun with the sound they're making; Lott beats a cowbell as if his life depends upon it.

A storming rendition of 'All the Right Things' from We Are Rising, with its pounding drums and great guitar riffs (which replace the brass on the recorded version), goes down a treat. Lott brings things down with a closing solo performance of 'Lanterns Lit' which is affecting, if not as interesting as his faster paced songs.

The only thing that's missing is more songs from first album At War With Walls and Mazes. He only performs 'Stay', but it's a minor quibble when the new songs are so strong. Really, it's not bad for a man who professes that “performance is painful” because he feels he’s “always in a strange place with a bit of a handicap”. Well, not tonight, Ryan; tonight you killed it.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet
Related Articles
Son Lux - XOYO, London - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab
Son Lux - Remedy
  • 05/18/2017
  • By Larry Schiffman
Son Lux - XOYO, London - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab
Son Lux - Bones
  • 06/03/2015
  • By Rob Taylor