Toy at Electric Brixton
Toy dug into the Electric Brixton last night with their heavy psychedelic sound thoroughly permeating the entire venue. Just a month after the release of their second studio album, Clear Shot, they opened their gig with the first track off the latest CD and went on to play almost all of their new material, with a couple of favourites from their previous records sprinkled in between.
Older tunes like Kopter and My Heart Skips a Beat had a few faithful fans rocking out, but altogether the audience remained straight-faced throughout the show. Though it can be argued that the Shoegaze genre generally consists of ambient, experimental music and that a solemn crowd is to be expected, something surely went amiss at this gig.
The Brighton band struggled with technical issues as early on as the second track, I’m Still Believing, when the lead guitar cut out for a good minute or so. This did not seem to deter them much, though the sullen rockers, fronted by Tom Dougall, hardly appeared to be fazed by anything at all. Bassist Maxim Barron and Charlie Salvidge on drums provided a stable bed for the wild cacophony that erupted from odd 80s-style synths and high-pitched guitars, playing with a wide array of effects that ultimately led them to meld together in an indistinct haze of atonal noise that the sound engineers either could or would not fix.
They did nevertheless achieve a hypnotic effect with the aid of well-orchestrated lights and a continuous smoke machine. Fall Out of Love had a real party feel to it with throbbing bass frequencies and strobes flashing to the beat. The first half of Cinema provided a much-needed release from the relentless backdrop of sound and really showcased the band’s heavy, brooding appeal. They finished off with a nicely layered arrangement of Dream Orchestrator, another track off their latest album.
On the whole, Toy’s performance last night did not do them justice. The front-of-house muddle and feedbacking mics likely affected their onstage experience, so it was hardly an easy gig to play, but they powered coolly through. Moody though the indie genre may be, Dougall could have engaged the crowd by saying a bit more than “thank you” every three or so numbers. The set felt more like a jam than a headlining show, with songs melting into each other, leaving little space for the music to breathe.
Photos: Guifre de Perey
For further information about Toy and future events visit here.
Watch the video for I’m Still Believing here: