I have Battles in my life. And Flying Lotus. And Nice Nice

Flying Lotus - apologies for not having my proper camera with me

Flying Lotus - apologies for not having my proper camera with me

Monday was another of this years Warped days.  The albums I’d listened to during the day comprised of two by Aphex Twin (twice each) and one by Squarepusher.  Then I went over to Manchester to a sold out Warp Records triple-decker at the Academy 2 – Battles / Flying Lotus / Nice Nice.  I was right down at the front from the start, so got a perfect view of all the on-stage trickery employed to produce the amazing sounds of the night.  At first I regretted not having my camera, as I could have got some great close ups, but by the end of the night I was very glad I didn’t have it.

Nice Nice are a duo who create live loops using all manner of instruments and gadgets.  One of their songs broke down, but in a way that was one of the best points in their set, showing as it did that all they were doing was live.  One of the most interesting tricks they employed was shouting into the guitar pickups through a megaphone.

I wasn’t too sure what to make of Flying Lotus at first. He seemed a little too keen to make sure we all noticed he was swigging vodka straight from the bottle.  And seeing as how the tools of his trade were fewer than those of Nice Nice – a laptop and a couple of control surfaces – there wasn’t much more visually to focus on. However, the big grin on his face, as he clearly enjoys what he does, and the strength of his music, more than compensated for his drinking antics.  The horripilating bass and ethereal vocal samples gel brilliantly with sometimes frenetic, and sometimes lilting beats.  I was not the only person who had been won over, and the crowd were loving it.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a support act summoned back on stage for an encore, but Flying Lotus and his grin were brought back on for more.

I’d seen Battles before, at the ATP Festival in 2008, so I already knew I was in for a treat.  But being right at the front meant I got a better look at how they worked together.  The drummer would occasionally leave his stage-front position to adjust the controls on one of the guitar amps, or to even change the jack lead into it.  As with Nice Nice, much of their set was built upon live loops, and they’ve clearly worked very hard and are really in sync with one another.  Their set closer, Atlas, not surprisingly caused a bit of a mêlée down the front, and I’ve not been in a moshpit like that for nearly 20 years!  My camera might have suffered some damage had it been with me, so by this point I was glad I’d left it in Bradford.  The trailing leg of a stage diver caught my head though, relieving me of an earplug, so I retreated to a safer position at the back of the room for the encore.  This was a new song that will feature on the next album, and it bodes well.

Monday wasn’t my first Warp-dominated day this year – the Warp20 day I spent in Sheffield, or the day I bought the Warp20 Box Set being two others of note.  But it’s nicely nicely rounded off a year when being a fan of Warp almost became fanaticism!


2 thoughts on “I have Battles in my life. And Flying Lotus. And Nice Nice

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