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Live / stage review

"Delicate soundscapes collapse into cacophonous onslaughts": Jockstrap at Foundry

The loud and the quiet, the serious and the silly – despite the many performers they bring to mind, Jockstrap are their own beast.

11 February 2023 at
Jockstrap at Foundry Feb 23
James Winstanley

“The bass is rumbling so much, it’s knocked the plug out”.

Within 30 seconds of Jockstrap’s Sheffield show, the gentle acoustic chords of ‘Neon’ are displaced by a sinister, room-shaking bassline – that is, until the power gets knocked out and they have to start the song again.

Technical difficulties aside, it’s a nice analogy for their music; the loud and the quiet, the serious and the silly, the beauty and the beast.

Taylor Skye and Georgia Ellery thrive on these juxtapositions. Often switching genres mid-song, their delicate, sweeping soundscapes can collapse into cacophonous onslaughts of noise at the flick of a switch.

While Skye remains encased in synths and machinery for most of the evening, Ellery commands the room, either through the pureness of her vocal delivery on quieter moments like ‘What’s It All About’ and ‘Glasgow’ or through her swirling, theatrical dance moves performed standing on top of the stage barrier, above her ardent audience.

The sequin-drenched strut of ‘Greatest Hits’ is pure disco pomp. It’s one of the many instances when the audience join in with Ellery, this time gleefully parroting her tribute to pop iconography:

Imagine I’m Madonna

Imagine I’m Thee Madonna

Dressed in blue

No—dressed in pink!

One of the highlights from their debut album, ‘Concrete Over Water’ is beautiful and cathartic. ‘The City’, which starts as a graceful piano ballad before turning into a glitchy, disorientating electro stomp, is as exhausting as it is awe-inspiring. Their club banger ‘50/50’ is unhinged.

It’s a show that can bring to mind Joni Mitchell, Skrillex, Kate Bush, Madonna (pink not blue), Patrick Wolf, Scott Walker, Peaches, Leonard Cohen, James Blake, St Vincent and more. But really, Jockstrap are their own beast. Live it can be extremely fun, quite unsettling, intensely moving and at times confusing. But it’s certainly never dull.

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