Have you ever seen a prawn start a world war? No? Fair enough. Have you ever kissed a prawn and got a cold sore? Yes? Whatever floats your boat. Confused? Always. These are the kind of questions you’re faced with when you attend a SUPERORGANISM show. Be prepared.
Superorganism burst onto the live scene late last year after taking the internet by storm and releasing their self-titled debut album in March of this year. Comprising of eight members from around the world who met online and are influenced by the internet, Bojak Horseman and incorporate household objects for their music. They ooze the 21st Century meme culture we live in today. Superorganism are different, and there is no beating around the bush that they are weird. Weird in a pleasant, ‘what’s going on?’ kind of way. The kind that means you can’t take your eyes off the stage for the whole show. You daren’t blink in case you miss a giant whale float across their projected backdrop which continuously flashes with bizarre images of psychedelic cats; or the synchronised tambourine dance moves of the three backing singers B, Ruby and Soul. I recently spoken to Soul about their live shows and he described it as a “circus”. I was intrigued, but now I totally understand what he means.
The show starts in the bizarre fashion you would expect; six out of the eight members of the band walk onto the Arts Club stage draped in glittery cloaks to a video of their visual design member, Robert Strange, declaring the show has been cancelled due to the world being consumed by the Internet. The show isn’t cancelled but he’s not wrong about the Internet. Then, out causally strolls, Orono, the group’s 18-year-old lead singer, Chinese takeaway in one hand and a can of Magners in the other. Superorganism might have been born in the digital age, but they still have an edge of indie rock and roll to them. And while a lot of their music may be sampled, there are still guitars, drums and keyboards chiming away on stage adding to the live show experience. Strobes light up the room and excited cheers come from a very mixed audience of young and old fans, fans from different digital generations, as the group kick off the evening with SPRORGNSM. Still adorned in capes, the backing vocalists burst into their dance routines, find a couple of orbs that glow in the dark and jump right into Night Time. A rendition of Happy Birthday from the crowd is instigated by Orono for a 16-year-old in the audience. A heart to heart with the crowd over Orono’s unfished dinner is had, and her excitement over being of legal age to drink in the UK is fully celebrated with more cider before The Prawn Song – a personal favourite – kicks in. There is something surreal about a room full of people singing “I’m happy just being a prawn”, like it’s totally normal. However, I think it perfectly sums up the playfulness and experimental nature of the art-pop band who don’t take themselves too seriously.
Wrapping up the show with fan favourites, Everybody Wants To Be Famous and Something For Your M.I.N.D., after only a 45 minute set, they’ve played every song on their album. It’s all over far too quick. We must not forget, though, 18 months ago Superorganism didn’t exist. So, to be packing out venues around the world on the back of a small amount of Internet exposure and one album is pretty impressive. Where next for their circus? Just imagine how big and wild it can grow in another 18 months.