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Live / stage review

GoGo Penguin, Leadmill, 6 Nov

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Photo: Yvonne Schmedeman

We've all got that one friend who has the best taste in music. When they tell you to go to a gig, you go. That's how I ended up seeing GoGo Penguin at The Leadmill. I'll admit that I judged them on their ridiculous name, yet a quick listen confirmed they were ridiculously talented too.

Besides, Andreya Triana was the support. I first encountered this soulful songstress at Croatia's Soundwave festival in 2010 and she made a lasting impression. You may have heard her husky vocals on a handful of Bonobo tracks or on Flying Lotus' 'Tea Leaf Dancers'. Tonight she gave a whistle-stop tour of her solo material, from the gentle and melodious 'Lost Where I Belong' to latest single and feminist belter 'Woman'. Joined by just a guitarist, except when accompanying herself on bass for 'Freedom', her powerful performance, bright orange outfit and sunny demeanour warmed the room.

The stage was bathed in smoky, jazz club-like spotlights as the piano, double bass and drum kit came to life for GoGo Penguin. Opening with the melancholy piano and minimal double bass of 'Prayer', the band went straight into the more energised drumming and erratic piano of 'Raven', the crowd cheering in recognition of tracks from their latest album, A Humdrum Star.

With the band working through four studio albums and every emotion, at one moment I was soothed by the beautiful, flowing piano of 'Ocean in a Drop', the next I was anticipating the dramatic climax and horror film intensity of the double bass in 'Murmuration'. The band left best-known track 'Hopopono' for last, covering both ends of the spectrum.

This gig reinforced two things: always listen to that music mate's gig tips, and never judge a band by its name.

Phoebe Seymour

Next article in issue 129

Live / stage review Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Leadmill, 23 Nov

You don't expect to see ferns dangling from the roof of The Leadmill during a gig - especially when that's combined with the sound of distor…

You don't expect to see ferns dangling from the roof of The Leadmill during a gig - especially when that's combined with the sound of distor

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