Dark and moody electronica at Ether

Ether Festival 2012 review

published: Mon 15th Oct 2012

Mount Kimbie

Friday 5th to Saturday 20th October 2012
Southbank Centre, London, SE1 8XX, England MAP
Ticket price varies depending on event and seating
last updated: Thu 6th Sep 2012

Continuing the line of Autumn dates, London's South Bank saw the British duo Mount Kimbie bring their live act to Ether Festival on a cold Saturday night, ably supported by fellow electronic acts Airhead, and Bass Clef playing either side of the headliners. Given that the members of Mount Kimbie met at South Bank University, it's fitting that they have eventually returned there to show just how far their act had come.

Mount Kimbie
In contrast to how you usually would find the Queen Elizabeth hall, the lobby had been transformed into a live music venue with a stage and DJ booth nestled into one of the corners of the entrance area. If it weren't already obvious, the heavy smoke and sparse lighting was a dead giveaway to show that Ether was in town, with crowds easily filling the stage area and spilling out around the hall. The vibe was relaxed and subdued, which worked really well for opening act Airhead's DJ set to start things off. Like the stage itself, Airhead's style is dark and grimy, with house and dubstep beats counterpointed with deep basslines and hip hop vibes to get things warmed up and getting heads nodding.

Following a short changeover, Mount Kimbie took to the stage, joined by a live drummer playing synth drums as well as an acoustic kit to add to the live performance. Surrounded by (or was that hiding behind?) keyboards, synthesisers and samplers whilst enshrouded in the dark with only flickering neon tubes for lighting, they were definitely going for the dark and moody look as they went through a selection of older favourites and newer material, continuing the theme of house and dubstep rhythms tinged with indie influences. As the set went on, they periodically exchanged keyboards for guitars to add echoing solos to the tracks and both had a go at vocal performances, with varying results . Aside from some initial troubles with the drummer getting the set list mixed up, Mount Kimbie are a skilled group and more than able to take their studio productions to a live show and provided the perfect entrance for the deep and heavy beats of Bass Cleff's dubstep DJ set to round the night off.

As for crowd reactions, the night certainly attracted a big crowd, with a plenty of delighted fans who were eager to enjoy the combination of live performance and DJ mixes. Speaking of fans, it's worth mentioning the fans that Mount Kimbie had brought with them on stage, which had been covered in tinfoil to reflect light into the crowd (think disco balls). It's certainly a strange thing to see during a gig, although given the props that Pantha du Prince had bought along to the same stage last year, such things don't seem as out of place as they should.

Kudos to Resident Advisor as curators of the night and lineup in combining this set of acts to create a seamless evening of similar music and sounds and a great example of the kind of electronic music you can expect at Ether Festival.

Mount Kimbie
review by: Chris Smout

photos by: Chris Smout

Friday 5th to Saturday 20th October 2012
Southbank Centre, London, SE1 8XX, England MAP
Ticket price varies depending on event and seating
last updated: Thu 6th Sep 2012


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