The hipster brigade are out in full force tonight in the intimate surroundings of the Bodega (Nottingham’s premier indie sweatbox), with an array of snapbacks, denim jackets, and Vans on display. They’ve assembled for all the right reasons, however, as they’re here to witness the latest stop of an exciting co-headline European tour by the trip-hop, Odd Future-affiliated outfit The Internet and Floridian singer/songwriter Kilo Kish. Both acts compliment each other superbly, making for a superb double-header that dispenses with the formulaic touring structure of a very “meh” support band doing a great disservice to the main act.
Kilo Kish takes to the stage first, accompanied by DJ and chief confidant Kitty Cash. Resplendent in a polka dot dress and leather jacket with a hair style that is Solange-worthy in its epicness, her glowing effervescence rubs off on the hyped punters from the outset. Opener “Navy” displays her mellifluous rap/singing style over irresistible Internet production, whilst the Earl Sweatshirt-helmed ‘Trappin’’ sees Kilo glide effortlessly through an unsettling beat. “Turquoise”, another cut off her latest mixtape K+ (a work that has cemented her current status as darling of the blogosphere), is glorious, prompting an outbreak of head-bopping from an increasingly enchanted audience. She closes with the domineering “Creepwave”, with its subtle bass-y build introducing a sinister aspect to Kilo’s otherwise charismatic personality, before she invites two delighted fans to dance with her on stage to the colossal “L2K”. With that, Kilo flashes her radiant smile for one last time before taking her leave, much to the collective disappointment of the enraptured audience. She’s undoubtedly destined for bigger things; her live set a testament to the swirling hype that surrounds her and her tremendous hair style.
It’s quite an act to follow, but thankfully The Internet operate on a very similar level to their compatriot. Led by O.F. cult hero Syd Tha Kid and producer-maestro Matt Martians (the duo writing and producing all of their material), their R’n’B-tinged brand of space-pop is significantly rebooted on the live stage through the incorporation of a keyboardist, drummer, and bassist to generate a jazzy, funk-driven sound. It formulates a compelling substance sonically that enables them to shed the often-opaque sound that can be found on record in order to become a new kind of beast (and an awesome beast at that) on stage.
Syd may very well compete with Kish in terms of being the nicest person you could ever wish to meet (as we found out post-gig), but she prowls the stage and adeptly commands her devoted followers with an unflinching confidence as she delivers her soft yet captivating vocals. Feeding off the crowd’s lively energy, the band flourish as they dive into a sumptuous “They Say”, before inviting one guy up to guest-rap on “Cocaine” – fortunately he nails rather than flunks the verse in Left Brain’s absence. They rely mostly on The Internet’s one record, Purple Naked Ladies, for the make-up of their set, but near enough every song that is aired tonight is gratefully received. The band themselves are so musically tight – the rhythm section possessing so much swagger to provide a backbone for Matt and Tay Walker to trade glowing synths and piano loops, whilst the ever-cool Syd continues to deliver her vocals effortlessly, high-fiving anyone and everyone at every opportunity.
Hands are swaying in the air, there’s frenetic dancing in the front row, and everyone is absolutely loving it (even a trio of aloof hipsters who appear next to us midway through are bouncing by the end), especially after Kilo returns to guest on “Ode To A Dream”. It’s not often that you sense a cohesive positivity at a gig that extends from band to punter to barman, but glancing around the Bodega, everyone is just in raptures over the majestic sounds that The Internet are producing. Unsurprisingly they crown the show as the best they’ve had on this tour, and the stonking conclusion of “The Garden” is very much the ceremonial cherry on top of an already delicious cake.
It leaves us and pretty much everyone else in attendance with a tremendous grin on our faces by the end, with the realisation that we’ve witnessed something rather special in the cosy confines of the Bodega this very evening. Perhaps The Internet eclipsed Kish through the live sound, but no-one’s looking for a victor between the two: we’re all content in the knowledge that we’ve just witnessed two extremely exciting acts that are finding their feet in the live arena at just the right time.
…Sam is listening to Earl Sweatshirt – “Whoa”