Embarking on the very first dates of a world tour, Manchester’s experimental jazz trio GoGo Penguin have been building a solid name for themselves in 2016. The full and varied crowd at Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree tonight is testament to the cross-genre interest of this band, who cite influences such as Aphex Twin and Brian Eno.
Ex-Aberdonian Daudi Matsiko opens the show, in his first return to the city since 1993. Much to the amusement of the audience, Matsiko is genuinely stoked to be performing in his once-home, providing incredibly charming, if a little self-deprecating banter in between songs. His set is made up of acoustic tearjerkers, sounding a bit like an unplugged Sampha, and is sprinkled with poetic gems such as “a rotten tooth in a mouthful of broken teeth”, and “your love was the atomic bomb and my heart was Nagasaki”. It’s almost a surprise when he starts to use vocal looping effects, which in fact are an extremely welcome addition to his joyfully depressing numbers.
By the time GoGo Penguin take to the stage, the crowd has doubled, and the band begins their set with the first two songs from their new album to a room full of bobbing heads. The beauty in their music can be heard in the searing, almost romantic piano parts, which are constantly offset by ever-present and almost trance-like rhythm and bass. It’s difficult to not be drawn to watching drummer Rob Turner, who thankfully is positioned side on to the stage, to be seen in all his jazz drummer glory.
At one point bassist Nick Blacka asks if anyone owns their new album, Man Made Object, released in February. In true dour Aberdonian style, a bloke in the crowd responds, ‘na, I just listen on Spotify.’ Fair enough.
As the set continues the band play simply organic jazz in their own vein; there’s no effects and OTT embellishments to be found here. It’s probably difficult for the uninitiated to differentiate between tracks, as some tracks tend to sound a little similar at times. But the hardcore fans love each and every tune, and howl with delight when the band begin play their last song, Protest. The band is welcomed back on stage to a rapturous encore, and end rather fittingly with v2.0’s Hopopono.