Haiku Salut: Lamp Show

Saturday October 11th, 2014
St John on Bethnal Green, London

by Gemsy

Church. A place of peace, of prayer; a place of serenity; a place where you seek refuge from the world, seek comfort… A place to which you go on a Saturday night to watch your gran’s collection of antique lamps flicker on and off in time to “Baroque-Pop-Folktronic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other” (their website’s words, not mine) music – which could well be the end product of Polyphonic Spree, Sigur Ros and Aphex Twin being kidnapped and forced to make babies – while an imposing statue of Jesus looks on approvingly. Ah… Come again?

I agree: it sounds slightly implausible, but this was the experience of watching the wonderful Derbyshire trio, Haiku Salut, at St John’s on Bethnal Green yesterday. The venue perfectly complimented the intimate nature of the band’s work and the bonkers but spellbinding light-show of varyingly tasteful lamps programmed to light up in time with the beat perfectly epitomised the original and kitsch character of the band.

Astoundingly proficient with every musical instrument possible – from glockenspiels to music software – each song comprises wonderfully gentle, layered melodies, often quite driving rhythms and ethereal harmonies. The whole thing could be straight from fairyland (or – in parts – a whale acoustic karaoke night. I don’t say that as a bad thing…)

It could be considered self-indulgent in places and the set list would have benefitted from more momentum building through the order of play, but it was a magical experience and amazingly individual. If you’re not the sort of person who appreciates the joys of drinking cocktails from jam jars or are the sort to cringe when food is presented on a wooden board, instead of a good ol’ fashioned plate, then they possibly aren’t for you. They are, however, a unique and talented band and the uplifting experience of their melodic and captivatingly beautiful live show is not to be missed.

Go and see them before your gran wants her lamps back.

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