After the music comes to an abrupt stop, the sound of metal grinding its teeth on meth explodes into the air. As if nails were scratching a chalkboard, the drums scowl with a nasty drawl. This is grime music, the choice sound of U.K.’s underground edge. Seconds later the grime thrusts straight, four-counts that is, into the arms of acid. All the while, the sight of purple and pink lasers pushes toward the ceiling and pulls to the floor again in erratic shifts. The performance stage’s dynamics border haywire. In the audience an army of fists arises. Voices cheer. Welcome to…
Thoughts of Gorgon City swallowing you whole would seem most appropriate. Given so, Gorgon’s Greek root gorgós translates: dreadful. Recall in Greek mythology, the three monster sisters? Stheno, Euryale and the stone-turning Medusa were Gorgons. Monsters! Terror! And dread! Oh my. You will be hard pressed to find any hint of hideous in Gorgon City. The only Gorgon in sight is a printed Medusa silhouette head on T-shirts selling for $20.
In the bowels of the Masquerade where Hell and Purgatory are playmates, the heart of Gorgon City beats upstairs. In Heaven! Yes, Heaven. Heaven is 10,000 square feet of conspicuous space guarded by exposed walls. Heaven bares a stage-a massive stage. Where metal beams protrude vertically into the air, like exaggerated frames of future skyscrapers, which are connected to more beams that run horizontally across the stage like railroad tracks. Four-way resembling traffic lights perform stop and go commands on the edges of the platform. Where three light traffic signals are not enough and four lights are a must, Gorgon City is a fortified fortress.
A fortress partitioned by a gate where Gorgon City’s denizens are separated from the elevated action. Their stares gaze upward, eagerly awaiting the sight of their alderman. The creative counsel responsible for unbridled screams.
“ATLANTAAAA!!! Are. You. READY?” A voice calls from the stage. Lights out! The room goes black. Bodies are heard moving about in the shadows. For one mili-minute voices fall silent….until. Lights flash like a bolt of lightening. A game of green turned white fluorescents floods the stage to the back of the room. A spectacular LED show blinds retinas. “BOOOMMM!!!” A crackling explosion drops from speaker cabinets. The sound of bass jolts the heart. The pitter-patter of live drums crescendo as an approaching freight train.
A shield of dense vapor breaks away, revealing two youthful faces; one bearded the other with a light goatee. Their hands glide and pluck at controls, steering their sonic youth in forward directions. They stare at each other from their DJ techno pods that are separated by an actual acoustic drum kit played by a live drummer. Imagine music played live, merged electronically with ‘Live and Push.’ This is the future of house music realized in the 21st century.
Kye “Foamo” Gibbon and Mat “RackNRuin” Robson-Scott provides more than Gorgon City’s soundtrack, the duo is Gorgon City. Both are British, raised in North London, and never gave much inkling to music or music careers as lads. Whilst teenagers their music tastes were more diverse than their traditional rearing: Kye in hip-hop and Mat in punk. Their mutual attraction to jungle, AKA drum-n-bass led them to pursue DJ stints as monikers “Foamo” and “RackNRuin.” Separately signing with the same DJ agency, unbeknownst at the time, paid off when one night, the two met at a club and purposed to record together. After success, the two now named Gorgon City signed with the powerhouse Black Butter Records that fronted them vocalists such as Tanzania born and South Shields resident LuLu James.
Onstage appears her hourglass figure. Her elongated fingers clasp a microphone. The mocha-skinned beauty sashays as her long mane brushes against her back. The solid black multi-pattern white print dress she wears is wrapped around her frame so tight that she might have to be scissor out of it by nights end. She lowers her legs until she sits atop her wedge heels. With her back straight she sings, “We Used To Be Real.”
The purists could argue so. Where Gorgon City’s earlier work paid tribute to Athena and Thor as underground themes, it was their vocal number “Real” that danced onto the UK Singles Chart. The duos tasting of commercial success dictated 2014’s “Sirens” be all pop house. A trend currently followed by several British duo DJs, the most successful to date, two brothers hailing from Reigate, Surrey, England.
A month earlier, on a balmy early October night, Disclosure stepped onstage at Atlanta, Georgia’s historic Tabernacle. Guy and Howard took to their swiveling techno pods. Their smiles promised the greatest. What could ever go wrong? This stop marked the fourteenth date on their “Caracal” U.S. tour. “Superego” jump-started their set. “Omen” erupted in flames. “F for You” proved well with Howard’s chops where “Jaded” felt remote. After several bubbling numbers, the pop fizzled. “Willing and Able” stalled. “Nocturnal” failed to impress, even as the lads were air lifted and played electric guitars. “I heard their first album is better than the second album.” A blue-eye with blond highlights spectator whispered. Perhaps so, as “Bang That” and “When A Fire Starts To Burn” thrust the performance into hyper rave. With the stage lit, actual pyrotechnics exploded against erratic laser beams. A thunderous applause erupted as gigantic monitors played an animated Gregory Porter lipping “Holding On.” “Caracal” the concert exceled the moment Lionbabe’s Jillian Harvey strutted onstage and sung “Hourglass.” Her birdwalk and high kicks stole the show. American born Brendan Reilly appeared and sung the hell out of, “Moving Mountains” and brought the chuuuuh to the Tabernacle. Side note, Google him. All before the two Lawrence brothers disappeared into the black and reemerged with “Latch” the show closer.
“Atlanta this is so far the best show.” Bragged Guy-the younger of the two brothers. Honestly this was far from their best show played in Atlanta. The Disclosure concert lacked star power. Real star power. Not to say, the band-of-brothers are not on the road to stardom, or stars themselves. But when your music plays the soundtrack to the stars, then the stars had better show and perform live. *
“If I Had A Dime and Dollar, For Every Motherf…..”raps a gravely voice. As vocalist Josh Barry steps out, he spews a few bars from “6AM.” The former Britain’s Got Talent contestant takes his place alongside LuLu James. The two make the perfect pairing; her bangs, his dreads, both dressed in complimenting black and white, as they sing “We Were Meant To Stand Out From The Crowd” into each other’s eyes on “Elevate.” On the smash-up of Peven Everett’s “Gabriel,” interwoven with Whitney Houston’s “It’s Not Right but It’s Okay” the two come off sincere and genuine.
Don’t get it twisted like the serpents twisting on Medusa’s heads. Gorgon City is vocal house as much as Gorgon City is one entire dance party. Where the people actually dance in Gorgon City is on the outer banks of the standing crowd where a young man slams his body to every count on Omni Trio’s “Renegade Snares.” This is Mat “RackNRuin’s” roots-his best attempt that challenges the audience to dance on double counts.
Crowd pleasers continue. “Ready For Your Love”-Gorgon City’s highest UK chart-topper to date-whips bodies into motion, one twenty-something wearing a man bun mouths every lyric to “Imagination” and a alumni raver sings “Here For You,” her left arm flinging in the air as her torso shifts left to right, her face reads, “F-U-C-K off, I’m diva extraordinaire.
The diva driven powerhouse vocals on “Go All Night,” the most apropos song for a party that could have went all night, closes the party. As the sound of single stroke drumming builds into a frantic frenzy, synthesizers play sharp chords for a true rock star ending. Gorgon City closes with a bang! In a world of British dance music competitors, one winner is crowned. Where Disclosure has attained rock star status, Gorgon City performs like rock stars.
*Contains excerpts from Disclosure 05.10.15 review on ajdancelegacy.com words by aj dance.
words: aj dance