Not usually my cup of tea, but from what I’d heard of AlunaGeorge’s slinky electronic R ‘n’ B I’d liked, so I thought I’d pop along…
Date: October 30, 2013
Venue: Rock City
AlunaGeorge are Aluna Francis and George Reid, a duo whose marriage of R ‘n’ B, electronica and minimalistic, bass-heavy beats has seen them shortlisted for the 2013 BRIT Award of Critics’ Choice and the Sound of 2013 poll, in which they finished in second place.
Not bad for a collaboration that weren’t fully-fledged until last year.
Aluna is the central figure. Prowling centre stage like Rihanna dressed for a boxing match – silver shorts and black cape (and even a towel) – while her cohort takes a reserved role to the right of her behind his keyboards and programmes. He’s responsible for the bed of squelchy, futuristic soundscapes on which her glossy child-like voice rests.
While on record it’s just the two of them creating their brittle sound, in the live arena, they’re assisted by a drummer and bassist, thickening their sound further and fleshing out their recorded output.
Songs from their debut album, Body Music, slide by on a textured mass of synth squiggles, chopped samples, trembling bass, popping beats and understated drumming, with the reliance on the cymbal, pushing forth their bum-shifting numbers.
Sparse arrangements prance with trippy, glitchy sequences, heard on the slink-pop melting pot of ‘Superstar’, the contagiously rhythmic ‘You Know You Like It’ and a crowd-pleasing cover of Montell Jordan’s ‘This Is How We Do It’.
Aluna’s crystalline tones underpin the mash of styles expertly, creating a cinematic scope which pulses with a throbbing, frenetic energy.
In the encore, they prove they don’t need Disclosure’s dance nous to bounce their way through ‘White Noise’, and ‘Your Love, Your Drums’ is a perfect distillation of their sound, all distorted samples and thudding bass lines.
George remains silent throughout, allowing Aluna to work the crowd. As they close, it’s clear who the boss is. But they’re both masters of their artistry.