- Michael Brailey
Without 24 Kitchen Street, Liverpool’s gig circuit would be a different place entirely. Bringing artists primarily from the experimental, ambient, dance and hip hop world to a darkened room with a huge disco ball at its centre, the venue has brought groundbreaking acts to intimate settings. Hosting outliers in their field such as Omar Souleyman and Actress to the likes of Ross From Friends and Yves Tumor it’s a venue that is constantly breathing new life into the city. Tonight is no different: TIRZAH is set to make her Liverpool debut.
It’s a warm spring evening and the sun is still up as we enter the yard, but the sun is partially eclipsed by the scaffolding and brick that lays behind the venue. It’s a brooding image and an omen of the issues currently faced by thriving independent spaces in the city. Gentrification and inappropriate planning permission hangs heavy in the air. For now we can only appreciate it for as long as it lasts (which we hope is a long and fruitful future).
Walking in we are greeted to a blaring mix of electronica provided by BЯYN. Before long the music fades and MICHAEL BRAILEY is welcomed to stage. Blending elements of experimentalism with pop sensibilities, Brailey is quite different to anything I’ve seen for a while. His voice swoops hitting extremely high notes before plunging into something on a truly more ambient level. I’d be interested in catching another of his sets to truly grasp his true sound, but tonight proves a spark for unique multisensory creativity multisensory, drawing in all the available light and using it to his full advantage.
Tirzah’s set proves quite the opposite. With lights dimmed she enters the stage accompanied by band mates and equally pioneering visionaries Coby Sey and Mica Levi. The group seems calm, collected and confident in themselves. It may be a minimal set-up, but it’s obvious that these musicians know each other well; the chemistry between them manifests itself onstage. Much like the record itself, their onstage presence is understated and nuanced, allowing the audience to fall into a hypnotic trance among the loops and the repetitive lyrics. The crowd is quietly appreciative for the most part, letting themselves dissolve into the ambience the trio produce; even the odd occasional ringing of the windchime works.
Different gigs offer different forms of catharsis, but tonight’s is something different. The ambient mantras offer a calming effect with all walking out into the night bleary eyed and clear minded.