Sunday, 15 February 2009

Strike Soundsystem

I've seen Strike in action a few times now and really enjoyed each experience. When they're playing well, the group is on fire (sometimes literally!) with tight rhythms and a great creative flow. We enjoyed Strike Elemental last year and looked forward to Strike Soundsystem as part of the Fringe Festival.

The first half of tonight's show started really well, with some new takes on older Strike pieces. As always, it's great to experience the artistic brilliance of Murray Hickman, a founding member of Strike. You can see he not only loves what he does (and does it well), but he lives and breathes it in every beat. Tom Pierard has come a long way in his drumming, and has obviously developed a great rapport with Leni Sulusi, who creative flair is always enjoyable. Takumi Motokawa's quirkiness has developed into a reasonably solid sound, although I missed the dependable rhythms from Tim Whitta.

So, why the second half then? From the sloppy changes on stage in between pieces, to an unnecessary MC (where did she go to during the second half - and why was she replaced by that terrible rapper?), it went downhill quickly. Most of the guest performers were very talented in their own right and would normally be a pleasure to hear; give them their own shows, I say. If 'collaboration' involves random jamming with all and sundry, some appropriate and others definitely not, then keep it for a Sunday afternoon in your studio or a nightclub somewhere. I know the guy balancing on chairs was impressive; I just see don't see what he had to contribute to a Strike performance. A few people walked out; I just felt like the group had let themselves down. I caught up with a drummer friend on the way out, and I can say that he was also less than impressed.

Will I see Strike again? Yes, but I will be carefully checking what they're planning on performing; if it's another 'collaboration', then count me out.

Sorry, guys, but stick to what you do best: being yourself, by yourself. As my sweetie said (and even said I could use this line in my blog - lucky me!), "are they trying to be Strike or a cheap rap band?". Good point.

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