It’s Halloween season and a bunch of people have wandered into one of the darkened warehouses at Glasgow’s SWG3 venue. You may be forgiven for thinking that we’re all here for some horror-fest or creepy experience to match the ever darker nights that have been encroaching on our lives over recent weeks, but we’re not. We’re here for colours and joy and musical wonder. We’re here for Superorganism.
Up first however are the support act, CHAI – a four piece, all-female outfit from Japan. Entering the stage dressed in matching, child-like pink outfits, an air of confusion fills the room. It doesn’t last long. CHAI are no mugs; their infectious brand of pop-rock alternative-punk/electro captures the imagination of everybody watching. There’s even a Japanese a capella rendition of ABBA’s Dancing Queen which makes little sense…but who cares? When a performance is this enjoyable, things don’t have to follow reason or order. The place erupts for each song and it’s tragic when they take their leave. A headline show would surely entice several audience members here tonight to return and once again wrap themselves under CHAI’s spell. But it’s not CHAI that we came here for. We’re here for Superorganism.
Dressed like a glittering, psychedelic cult group, the eight-member strong band kick into gear with SPRORGNSM and SWG3 falls into the palm of lead singer Orono Noguchi’s hand. She may be small in stature, she may be motionless on stage, but damn if she can’t control a room. It’s marvellous to behold and the joyous, dreamlike indie-pop is just as entertaining. Superorganism rattle through song after song – from album closer Night Time to album opener It’s All Good – that you begin to worry: they’ve only released one album of ten tracks… we’ll be over soon! Alas, fear not, things are all under control.
The band exit stage, leaving Orono for some banter with the crowd and boy is it entertaining! There are weird twists & turns all over the place and she’s more than happy to converse with the fans – but it’s a long episode focusing on the pros and cons of “chugging Irn Bru” which illicits the most laughs (note: you might think there are no cons, but Orono claims she’s struggling with a serious addiction to the stuff which requires rehab treatment, so chew on that for a moment). Considering the fact that most vocalist-to-audience encounters usually develop into some obnoxious rant about whatever’s pissing off said singer at any given time, it’s refreshing & fun to just be caught up in the weird world and opinions of a deadpan teenager.
The band re-join and return to the rattling through of their debut album. The whole affair is back-dropped by crazy visuals which are sometimes stylised like a retro-video game, sometimes out in space, sometimes under the ocean. Ten lucky audience members get on stage to dance with the band during their “final” song Relax and then things are over. Except they’re not – everybody knows the band hasn’t played Something for Your M.I.N.D (the band’s first single) and sure enough they return to give it the once through. SWG3 loves it.
Superorganism aren’t a neatly categorised experience. For some they’re weird surrealism set to music, to others: a poppy venture laced with childhood nostalgia, whilst some will dismiss it as odd hipster music. In actuality, Superorganism are all and none of those things at once. It’ll be deep and arty to fans and surface level nonsense to critics – but why should that matter? Superorganism are focused firmly on fun. On the basis of tonight, they’re doing a damn fine job.