The Caribou and Four Tet midnight show at the Hi-Fi bar was rather late on a school night, as the witching hour might suggest. We were forced to line up all the way back to Collins St, presumably as they cleaned up from the earlier show, which started at 7.30 the same night. An unusual program for these two respected icons of electronic music, it was promoted in celebratory fanfare – to commemorate the end of their Australian tour – two shows, on the same night.
Loaded up on espresso martinis, we waited impatiently to be let in and found Four Tet already underway in a marigold yellow T-shirt, his British afro gently bopping in response to the mysterious communications of his lap top.
Despite the late hour, the crowd was full and bustling, requiring not just the shoulder, but the elbow manoeuvre to get through. Two glow-sticked wrists could be seen crossed in neon appraisal of Four Tet’s form, which was unfortunately for me, just a little bit mellow.
Kieran Hebden mostly tinkered with stuff from his new album There is Love in You, which is an album that arose out of a DJing residency at Plastic People club in Shoreditch. He did also pay tribute to his 2005 album Everything Ecstatic, weaving Smile Around the Face in with a fresh array of effects and samples, although he must have moved beyond Rounds – an early album that still holds a cockle-worth in this reviewer’s heart.
Hebden’s serious dedication to his laptop and mixing desk was punctuated by the odd glance up at the crowd, and a seemingly effortless flick of the wrist was all it took to shift from a cymbal clash or sequence of beats to a vocal repeat and back again. He gave a sweet, almost childish wave goodbye to the sweaty and appreciative crowd. The overall effect of his set was somewhat placid – a quality that only became more apparent as Caribou took the stage.
The explosive contrast of Caribou was instantly evident with the frenetic joy of two drummers thundering in tandem whilst staring each other down across the stage.
The mathematical genius behind Caribou, Dan Snaith, is an accomplished musician moving faultlessly from his array of playthings; noodling on the synth, cueing samples, singing, playing guitar and drumming.
A number of the songs Caribou played were from his impressive album of 2007, Andorra. ‘Niobe’ for instance, a gentle but persistent build of elements around memorable and yearning lyrics – “I fall so far, I fall so far” and equally catchy signature track ‘Melody Day’ prove Caribou’s skill in combining percussion, and flourishes of disparate sounds and samples with the relative constancy of his almost girlish high vocals.
A professional performance from the band, Snaith’s lead drummer had a lovely quirk of raising his right stick up in the air as though in tribute to the rest pause or some kind of Drumheller God that you and I are not acquainted with.
The show was magnificent, full of energy and passion and the irrepressible pleasure of making noise. We emerged onto Swanston St at 3.30am in the morning, somehow refreshed by the creativity and skill of musical expression we had just seen.
– Anaya Latter