As I leave the house to get in my car, I nearly forget to grab my jacket after realizing its still chilly outside. Stepping inside the Corona Theatre, however, the DIY, almost child-like tropical décor on stage puts a grin on my face and I knew right away this show would bring some well-needed warmth.
The entire line-up felt like a musical vacation, a trip to some of the warmest paradises on this planet. Let me explain…
Tropical house was first on the menu as LP Giobbi stepped on the stage and effortlessly instilled her signature afro-Cuban piano house sound with well-known songs such as Kokiri’s Retrospect, Pjanoo by Eric Prydz and even lifting the crowd up their feet with Magalenha by Gregor Salto. Her training from UC Berkeley was becoming apparent with every perfect piano key-stroke she coordinated with synths and samples blaring in the back.
Next, we were transported to Africa, Nigeria by Grammy-nominated Kah-lo who gave us a taste of unreleased tracks along with some favorites, starting off her set-list with a new song called Bad Boy. Her adaptable vocals mixed with Nigerian afro-house sounds of drums and steel pans were sure to keep the crowd’s feet moving and the heat all the way up. The tempo increased with songs like Fasta and Money to prepare us for what’s to come.
As we waited for the main act, LP took the stage, blasting loud house music essentially turning the floor into a club. Sounds of nature kicked in and reminded us that we’re still in a jungle and the journey has only started.
Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpem did not waste a second, as they ran onto stage and kept the beat strong with synchronized drums.
Sofi Tukker’s commercial success started off as most great things in life, a coincidence. Tucker at the time was an avid junior All-Ivy basketball forward but missed most of the pre-season due to illness. During his time off, he discovered his talent on synths and met Sophie during an art show at Brown University, where they were both performing.
Fast forward a couple of months and the NYC-based duo released Grammy-nominated song “Drinkee”, featured in an Apple Watch ad which showed worldwide success. Since then, they have been signed up with Apple in a hat-trick of commercials, with “Best Friend” for iPhone X, and radio-friendly version of “Batshit”, “That’s It (I’m Crazy)” for the iPhone 8 Red.
Back to the show, we’re now in Portugal, as Sophie sung fast-paced Energia in Portuguese with jungle-house sounds throbbing the floor under the crowd’s feet. Matadora came next which featured their creative new instrument they call Abel, the Book Tree, a collection of books with contact microphones connected to a computer through a MIDI converter, essentially a sampler.
The duo continued their set-list with a perfect mélange of songs from their last EP, Soft Animals and latest release, Treehouse. Sofi Tukker’s charm is not only in their contagious smiles but also in their ease in keeping the audience entertained and engaged. During Awoo, the group invited members of the crowd on stage to show us their dancing skills (and knowledge). By the end of the song, Tucker gave a nod to Betta Lemme, Montreal-born model and singer who was featured in the original video and song.
Midway into the show, the ambience turns to night-time as Sophie serenades us with the haunting sounds of Moon Tattoo, giving the floor to Tukker who switches the sound back to punchy house, snares and claps. This time, the stage becomes the dance floor as LP and Kah-lo come back on floor and show us how this line-up is meant to be taken as a whole.
The group ends their setlist with crowd favourites such as Best Friend, Fuck They and Drinkee, and have the audience sing in unison during Sophie’s acoustic version of Cry For You by September. As the show ends and the bright floor lights turn back on, I realize that this trip has ended and outside this century-old theatre it’s still cold and now raining.
Baby I’m Queen
My Body Hurts
Moon Tattoo Tucker solo
Cry For You acoustic
Review – Fahad Azam
Photos – Maxime Fremy & Fahad Azam