There is something profoundly awkward about sitting in a Starbucks by yourself, opposite a man dressed in unseasonal shorts and sandals, laughing and talking to himself whilst knitting a giant Christmas stocking. This would be hard to beat in terms of an awkward moment, but the events at the Com Truise gig at Madame JoJo’s gave it a valiant try.
The imaginatively titled Victoria&Jacob opened the proceedings at Madame JoJo’s. However the awkwardness struck almost immediately as before they’d even played a note, static and mobile interference halted their performance, leaving Victoria&Jacob looking a little perplexed as to what to do. When things did begin, despite the static, the bass was loud enough to shake the room and their brand of blissed-out electronica warmed up the ever-increasing crowd.
Next up was Starfucker, or STRFKR, for those that might be easily offended. Awkwardness struck again but it came in the form of some gloriously awful dancing by the keyboardist (Patrick Morris, I believe). Some of my favourite moves included the hand-on-hip wobble, the swing-your-arm-behind-your-back and sway, and the classic, running-up-a-hill-on-the-spot whilst clapping. He looked just like a stereotypical class geek in an American Rom-Com that has taken his first line of Mandy and discovered he likes funky-house music. It was amazing. Apart from the dancing, the music was again hit by sound problems. One song sounded like a remix of the noise made by lorries reversing, but who cares when there is such talented dancing on offer?
The performance in contrast by Com Truise was anything but entertaining. One audience member summed it up by saying, ‘It’s like when I saw Daft Punk… I wonder whether its just a CD playing’. Ignoring the idiocy of the Daft Punk reference, she has a point. Com Truise, aka Seth Haley, came to the stage, accompanied by a live drummer, initially with a wave of excitement, as I’m sure there were many people there like myself unsure of what to expect. The answer was nothing. There was no light show, or VJing, perhaps due to the size of the stage, but there wasn’t anything decipherably interesting going on behind the decks either. There was no crazy use of pads on an MPC sampler or technical mixing of records. Halay looked awkward on stage; rarely acknowledging his audience, the only thing he seemed to do was twist a few knobs and bob his head a little.
The music sounded just as it does on record, which was good, in one respect, to hear the synthesized-retro beats blasted out of a proper sound system, but there was nothing else tangible to hang on to. It was banal, boring and lazy. At a time when artists are increasingly relying on live revenue to support themselves and every man and his dog is a DJ, it’s surprising to see somebody put such little effort into their live set. I’d rather watch a crazy man in Starbucks knit a giant Christmas stocking (again) any day.