Nettle / Nass El Ghiwane / DJ/Rupture at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
A night of music representing the development of arabic music by the influence of western styles.
Nettle started the evening with the geeky looking Jace Clayton (DJ/Rupture) introducing the players. Buidling upon live precussion and string parts Clayton added to this his own style of sampling and controlled maniupulation to extend the sounds off. At times the three musicians seemed to simple be on stage together by accident, each looking equally at odds with the other. Abdel Hak, on strings, looked like he had simply been placed on the stage, unaware of the audience around him, perhaps a reflection of his skill in the form of experience. The percussionist, Grey Filistine, looked uncomfortable in his suit, but then when they started to move into the music together you could see his eyes becoming entracned by his rhythms. The music all started to form together and the group achieved their potential. These moments more than made up for the moments where it didn't quite seem to work.
They were followed by Nass El Ghiwane. They built up some amazing trance rhythms whlst playing with their audience and eliciting some amazing vocal harmonies. Their longstanding ability and the comfort of the line-up working with each other was apparent with the ease with which they worked together and built up the songs, proving that this 30 year old, ever changing line up, can still engage. So beautiful it's left me lost for how to describe.
After a short interval DJ/Rupture returned to the stage, this time as DJ. A difficult taks to pull of he is a DJ, not a turntablist, and watching someone play records in a seated venue isn't the best exepriece. Non the less he should some excellent skills, quickly mixing between arabic vocal tracks on to break beats and layering them together. At times it was difficult to tell if he was actually mixing his skills were so seemless. His skills here show that he has the capability to be a good producer and emphaise what can be achieved by Nettle.
Following DJ/Ruptue were Clotaire K an Egyptian and Lebanese HipHop band. I couldn't really get into this, and ended up leaving after 4 songs. I think perhaps it would have made more impact had I been able to understand what they were singing (mostly in French) but otherwise it was a bit lost on me. And perhaps the wrong type of band to be following up the other artists, too intense in the theatrical nature of their performance.
It was nice to see Jace Clayton and Grey Filastine hanging out in the foyer during the interval, helping tout their wares, rather than hiding backstage.