Still Newcastle’s best-kept musical secret, Cobalt studios continue to lead the way in bringing independent artists into popular culture through their staging of interesting acts and diverse bills. Tonight being no exception, Cobalt is intimate, inclusive and friendly as it hosts a line up of genre crossing talent.
Corporationpop, a one-woman electronic poet, starts off the show with force through her ability to combine both personalities of the Pet Shop Boys. Focused, Chris Lowe styled, electronic beats provide a minimalist texture over which she places a half spoken, half singing, delivery a la Neil Tennant. Emotive, personal and highly perceptive, Corporationpop blends John Cooper Clark and Sleaford Mods styled street poetry into intellectual dance. She is fascinating to watch and even more interesting to listen to.
Switching from minimalist electronica to minimalist hip-hop, local champion MC Kay Greyson is up next, bringing an upbeat, introspective, style of word play to her serious intellect and insight. Playing over a ‘Tribe called Quest’ styled laid-back layer of beats Greyson is poised, precise and hypnotic. Tonight’s highlights ‘bad meaning good’ and ‘fall in love’ are both gorgeous compositions, contemplating the complexities of modern life with our need for instant gratification. When an MC is on fire, as Greyson is tonight, hip-hop can be the most powerful music force for enticing a self-analysis of how we live our lives.
Perfectly falling between tonight’s support, headliners Noya Rao continue the theme of electronic beats and intellect.
Part stripped down drum n’bass, part Jazz and part trip hop, the Rao’s combine to make a sound like Portishead meeting Goldie. Basing their music on intellectual dance architecture, Noya pull together breakbeats and soulful female leads to create a structure which is distance and meditative. Drummer Matt Davies is on exceptional form tonight, stealing the show with a percussion style which underpins Noya’s sound. Changing rhythms and altering between drum techniques, Davies is a microcosm of the band; interesting, ever changing, technically superb but lacking in ego.
Tonight was not just a display of fine talent, it was also the display of a venue trying to provide value for money and support some of the best talent in music. Great work.