To Rococo Rot - Rough Trade East, London - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

To Rococo Rot - Rough Trade East, London

by Rich Morris Rating:10 Release Date:2012-04-05

Seeing such a seminal and reclusive band perform at such close quarters is a rare treat indeed. With no ceremony and an air of polite diffidence, the three members of To Rococo Rot take the stage and launch into ‘Cars’, my favourite track of theirs, which makes this an excellent beginning to their set. The familiar insectoid buzzing and squelchy beats soon wander off into something different, but the music remains absorbing and beautiful.

Watching the three members on stage is something in itself. Stefan Schneider’s fingers dance across his bass frets. His constantly inventive, highly melodic playing makes you realise how maligned and abused the poor old bass guitar is in the hands of most indie kids.

Ronald Lippok’s drumming, meanwhile, is just jaw-dropping. His hands fly across the kit, producing dazzling polyrhythms over machine beats. Together with Schneider, it’s like hearing Peter Hook jam with Can.

Synth player Robert Lippok emerges as the de facto leader of the group and also the most gregarious, entertaining the crowd while fiddling with his equipment (not like that) between tunes. He leads the audience in an impromptu screaming contest at one point and keeps our interest when the band abandon their first two attempts at new album highlight ‘Down in the Traffic’.

When his brother complains about the fat synth-pulse Robert produces to start the tune off, he merely looks at his synth with mock innocence and replies “Usually, I press this button.” Ronald laughs, relents. The synth pulse starts up again, minutely tweaked, and Ronald explodes into a wild but airtight beat, like he’s simultaneously possessed by the ghosts of Joe Morello and Jaki Liebezeit.

It really is something special to watch musicians this great, this inventive, intuitive and bold, in such intimate surroundings. Perhaps more surprisingly, it was also a whole load of fun!

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