5.10.06

Hebden Rocks Back And Forth

(Four Tet live, 2006 by Tim Broddin)

It's difficult to know how to behave at a Four Tet concert, and so careful observation reveals different factions amongst the illuminati smart enough to attend said concert. For the average indie-rock fan who's graduated to electronica more recently, there is much head-nodding, and the kind of half-dancing you get when you go to see the easier to swallow Go! Team, or someone similar. Then there's the tech-heads, the ones that stand literally inches from Keiran Hebden's face, so much so that they have to blow their smoke away to avoid choking the poor man. The goons with long necks and intent faces, that stare at Hebden's flying fingers. Then there's the pillheads, not so much causing trouble as actually having fun by dancing, albeit in the extremely limited space of Plastic People, a wee basement under Curtain Road, lined with chipboard and with a spotlight held by a bloke. I kid you not.

The spotlight was actually quite a feature of last night's concert, at least for me. When that's your solitary lighting, it becomes important, if nothing else to light the camera that was either filming the set, or snaking through the crowd conga-fashion, for no discernable reason. Of course though, the spotlight was not the primary interest here. Here was me, seeing a man I consider one of the most talented, interesting characters in music at the moment, just a few feet away in a tiny club, performing some of his greatest hits. I was happy.
I'm not really au fait with how to behave at this sort of event. Is it a gig? Is it a club? Is it something else? Something else, I'd go with. In an ideal world, there would be more space at a thing like this, to get your dancing shoes on, because to deny the foot-tapping, knee-wobbling good vibes of Four Tet is to do yourself a disservice, or else to prove that you are dead inside. But the room crowded around this wild- and sunken-eyed little man to get a glimpse of... nothing really. A whiteboy afro hunched maniacally over a console, moving a mouse every now and then, the rest of the time twiddling knobs and making buttons flash red. But when you look more closely, his fingers really are dancing - he's moving the beat along, he's manipulating the samples. Some clever Trevor behind kept saying, wouldn't it be funny, I bet it's all pre-recorded, guffaw. The fool! Can he not see?! Well, maybe he couldn't. But the many lights disproved this man's theory.
I'm not really any better informed now on correct protocol, but I don't mind. I have no desire to join the reserved head-nodding of the cooler-than-thou, neither do I wish to go nuts dancing unless I can dedicate a whole night to it. So I'm in the middle and that's fine. The bonus is that I've got out of it a wonderful, beautiful, rocking concert from one of my favourite acts, playing a bunch of my favourite songs, nice and loud, with sufficient improvisation and twists and turns to keep even the rock-hardened newbie happy. Beautiful people, we are.

The 'fo
Artist: Four Tet
Website: fourtet.net
Recommended: Rounds
Label: Domino
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