Byte Me is a new audio visual night which has started at the Blind Tiger Club. The posters for the opening night boasted Boss Kite, Bitbin, Smart Phone Orchestra, The 55th Flotilla, Fiona Geilinger, Marina Tsartsara, Dreamscape 1994 and Paul Prudence – an ambitious and impressive line up, which we couldn’t ignore.
As I arrive, a guy on stage is making some rather soporific ambient electronica on his laptop, which appears to be controlling the visuals too. Sadly, he was having to contend with a largely inattentive crowd. Entry was free before 9pm, which probably meant that some of the audience weren’t just there for the music, which is a shame, because it was rather lovely… until his laptop crashed. The music stopped and the visuals froze, and the set was cut short. Let’s put that one down to teething problems.
Next up were the Smart Phone Orchestra, who on paper were a very exciting prospect – an electronic music act controlled by mobile phones. And why not? The processing power of an iPhone exceeds computers from only a few years back, they come with built in microphones, and can become interactive by dialling out. In practice things seemed a little shambolic, but the seeds have been sown. If the band can turn what they do into more of a performance, and make their sounds in to tracks rather than one long jam it could all come together.
Then there was Bitbin, whose EP on Skint Records Under 5’s imprint is due in the next few months. Bitbin moved the performance from the stage into the crowd, setting up his laptop and equipment on a table down near the bar. Engaging with the crowd in a way that the other acts hadn’t even come close to, he upped the tempo, introducing faster rhythms and throbbing bass, and like is recent performance at the Pav Tav, he encouraged members of the audience to interact with bits of his kit to get them involved. Ladies and Gentlemen of electronica – this is the way to do things on a small intimate scale. There’s no excuse for staring blankly at a laptop screen looking like you’re checking your emails.
I also hung around for the next act, which went to show that Byte Me is a far more interesting proposition than a lot of other electronica night. Soft Furnishings was a combination of easy listening music and video by Fiona Geilinger accompanied by live interpretive dance by Marina Tsartsara, dressed head to to in black, including a black face mask and black wig. If I was to compare it to anything, I’d say it was like watching a live re-enactment of the titles to Tales of the Unexpected. And it certainly was unexpected – the other acts I saw all had visuals, but the visual element to this act was elevated above the music. It was good to see the night thinking about more than just the music.
At this point that I saw a break in the rain and made a dash for home. Things continued until 1am headlined by local producer Boss Kite. I look forward to seeing what they have on offer next month.