[Photo by Theo Cottle, www.theosphotos.tumblr.com]
As a tribute to my first review on HOLDUPNOW I have decided to review the live performance of Mala’s album Mala In Cuba at Motion, Bristol for the Outlook Festival Launch Party on February 23rd. The night was headlined by Mungo’s HiFi who graciously also brought along their renowned sound system for the event and supported by such acts as Prince Fatty, Gentleman’s Dub Club (DJ Set) and even Bristol reggae legend DJ Derek.
The set up for the live show was simply two Afro-Cuban drum kits, a keyboard and a mixing desk with laptop for Mala himself to control everything with. The sound system for the event was absolutely pristine with every high clap of a cymbal to the lowest frequency of bass coming out perfectly. Like the vinyl release, the live show starts with the track Mulata and not Introduction but unlike it, it flowed so much better with Mala mixing most songs into one another which with two live drummers was some feat but was achieved very well. The mix from the eerie Tribal to the bass heavy Changuito was met by a loud applause from the crowd. Comparing it to the vinyl release where the sudden endings in the songs reduced the flow, the way that allowed them to be mixed live helped the show so well.
The thing that unites most nights at Motion, is that there is so much more of a gig feel to it than just a regular club night, that gives it such a brilliant balance between the two. One of the main things that added to this show was the lighting. The rig had clearly been set for a show rather than the usual ‘sound to light’ settings most lights will have in clubs. The strobes when the beats were clicking and the soft blue lights for Como Como created such a perfect atmosphere. The mood was topped off with a very impressive dual drum solo displayed by the musicians on stage before the final song Noche Sueños was dropped. This was a perfect climax with the lighting again proving matching every beat perfectly and covering the audience in a sultry red haze. The only disappointment was that Danay Suarez who provides the vocals for the track was not there to sing it live as she had been before. All the same, a spectacular and perfectly ambient performance.
Now as for the drinking side of my review I did struggle due to Motion’s limited bar. This ruled out the rum and ginger beer I suggested for the vinyl release as the only component they had was the rum (and no fresh lime either). Inviting a friend up from London, I did give her a taste of Thatcher’s Gold cider and informed her that is the true taste of a Bristol night out. However, the Red Stripe in my hand complimented the night and this set perfectly.
Where you at this gig? What did you think?