The Scala is one of London’s better concert spaces. The old cinema lacks the grandeur of, say, KOKO, but its lower, blank ceilings offer a unique sense of intimacy. Bullion, supporting the headliner, had just begun when we walked in. The stage was set with a small table at the front-right corner of the stage, Bullion sat behind it at a pair of digital decks, surrounded by pedals. Huddled around him were percussionists and a guitar player, all facing inward, nodding at the sounds that came emanating from his desk, as we watched on, bathed in glowing rollers. I was surprised to see the Deek boss playing live, he and the intimacy of his players made for a definite shift in dynamic from what you hear on record.
Inevitably, after 30 minutes, the twisted bounce of Blue Pedro came rolling through the speakers, and one by one the players left. Small pockets around the room began jigging and pogoing among the bemused faces. Further confirmation of the track’s ability to thrill and confuse is hardly needed, but this show offered an exciting glimpse of what’s to come for Bullion.
Later we returned to find Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith mic’d like an early noughties pop starlet, standing at the helm of her modular set up, a noodle of wires protruding from its front. She proceeded to embark on her journey of organically motivated synth-manipulation. At times it reflected the increased presence of beats on her latest album The Kid, but more frequent were moments of cerebral intoxication: a combination of her haunting voice fed through a Buchla 100 modular synth and the visual accompaniment accentuated her clash of mechanical creak and earthly sway.
As she stood flowing with the sounds, voice blending with the circuitry, the screen variously displayed manifestations of cellular structures (A Kid), bubbles in thick liquid, popping (Until I Remember), and a swarm of origami birds (Who Am I & Why I Am Where I Am). The gig’s highlight though came when the chugging beats on A Kid were pulled from beneath the track, and her voice burst through the arrangement of machines, like an enormous, neon organ. For a second, everyone was swept away.