Friday, 19 June 2009
My concert experience: Tricky + Little Dragon
Park Live Fest is the first festival of its kind in Bulgaria, bringing together names from the electronic scene and reviving the true trip-hop vibe. Introducing such a concept for the first time on the Balkan music scene definitely meant a lot of risk for the organizers and less to no impact. Luckily, there are still plenty of people fond of the good old 90s when MTV was the pedestal of diversity and music was not all about boobs and trunks.
Day 1 was highlighted by the essence of the Bristol scene and the subtlety of the Swedish improvisational expressionism. Tricky on the prowl with his distinctive half-singing half-rapping distinguishable singing and Little Dragon with their surprisingly original performance attitude, brought freshness to the rather stagnant Balkan alt fields. Nevertheless, I should mention that the two main acts were preceded by three other performances, but they did go rather unnoticed. Although Tricky, real name Adrian Thaws, was the one who we all expected I dare say that Little Dragon made the best impression for the whole evening.
Little Dragon began rather vaguely, carefully testing the crowd and after just a couple of songs Yukimi Nagano and company gained confidence and slowly began heating up the audience. They took me by surprise with more up-beat versions of their sole album's tracks, which were rearranged especially for a fast-paced mind-blowing performance, which was entirely based on improvisation. I guess they did realize that Tricky being after them puts the stakes quite high and still they did their best to reach the level of required quality. The audience definitely appreciated Nagano's intriguing voice and her stage presence, as well as the passion Little Dragon's music had in store. Perhaps, people who would rather stick to their genuine style weren't very happy with the significant changes, although this was no wrong move at all.
Tricky...one of the pioneers of the trip-hop genre, who paved the way for the mid to late 90s alt electronic wave, was the one who was expected to blast the scene and be the bad boy of the festival. Indeed, he spent the whole evening doing spliff and passionately gulping drinks, probably heating up for the grand show. So far, so good. Lights off, a sudden turmoil on stage and there you go - Tricky in flesh and bone, performing in front of some 3 thousand people.
The closest link to the godfathers of trip-hop Massive Attack was there for us ready to kick some ass. Hooray! Have I ever told you how much I hate musicians doing drugs and eliminating immense quantities of liquor? I do! Tricky reminded me why! I guess I should excuse him, as this probably is part of his performance, but it poked out my eyes...they were sore and bleeding. What could be more pathetic the singer stoned as a dumb ass or the audience aggravating the situation with their horrific passiveness. I'd go for number two, please. Tricky might have had to struggle through his artistic inadequacy, but the audience obviously needed to cheer up. Sadly chemistry was absent and the vital connection performer-audience was based just on Tricky's reputation. Definitely there were people who went bananas seeing him live on stage, but the majority was there standing coldblooded and clapping as if taking part in a senior fund-raising campaign.
What made things even worse was the apathy that Tricky demonstrated, which made the show look as if he was there for himself and the rest could just fuck off. I, personally, had difficulty swallowing his annoyingly endlessly improvisations, which brought the majority to the edge of patience. In the setlist, probably on purpose, were omitted a great deal of his most famous songs, which brought more tension and dissatisfaction with the audience. Although trying to compensate with several new song arrangement it all crashed and burnt when technical difficulties abruptly interrupted the show. Afterward, Tricky had lost interest and in no time the concert came to its end. His performance ended with Motörhead's "Ace of Spades" and fans invited on stage to rumble with him. Applause! No requests for an encore. We all went home.