St Luke’s 01/11
I came to know Little Dragon through lead singer Yukumi Nagano’s brilliant vocal on Gorillaz’s ‘To Binge,’ but while that song is a bright swaying heart-felt ballad, tonight throws something else into the mix. Support act Ross From Friends at first seem an odd fit, three guys playing trance beats over-layed with spectral guitar riffs. The central DJ’s orange neon t-shirt attempts to bring a club vibe that is quite lacking in the crowd, but their fun spirit and electronically modulated saxophone signal what’s to come.
Much more high energy than on record, Little Dragon’s glittery pounding indie-dance is propelled forward by a combination of rotating onstage laser beam lights and Nagano’s outlandish Björk-inspired fluorescent green veil and jellyfish ruffles. The band power through upbeat tracks from their latest album Season High with Nagano’s vocals and robotic dance moves taking pride of place. However, it’s in the slower hip-hop influenced tracks that Nagano’s vocal really comes through; it’s a shame there aren’t more of these in the set. During ‘Blinking Pigs’, the underwater cavern created by the blue tones and shimmering mirror shards played into the atmospheric driving bass-line, as Nagano recedes into the drummer’s corner to lend extra percussion and let the music take centre stage.
After the excitement of the Grimes-esque ‘Ritual Union’, calls for the encore rattle across St Luke’s wooden floor – it doesn’t disappoint, with the drummer leaping onto his kit from a wide-armed pose on top of his seat and a final rendition of the beautiful piano driven song ‘Twice’ where the beams of light take on quality of the soft rays of a film projector.
It’s in their ability to blend anarchic electronica and laid-back vocal driven songs that Little Dragon triumph in creating a thoroughly enjoyable live show.