Distillation 01: Jape with support from Ryan Vail and Go Wolf
Friday 15th March 2013 – Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast
Time for a quick chemistry lesson: Distillation is the process of purifying liquids by evaporating them and subsequently collecting the vapours. It’s the perfect way to describe the first in a series of showcase events located in Belfast’s Oh Yeah Music Centre. The bill sports a line-up of indie-electronic acts that have a leftfield approach to making music, combining elements from perhaps contradicting genres and purifying them to create a series of truly unique songs.
Flying the flag for Oh Yeah’s Scratch My Progress project are new-band-on-the-block GO WOLF, who open the night with their blissful combination of synth-pop and indie-rock. Whilst some of their early songs in the set lack the pop edge that put the band on the radar, the quirky funk intro of “Talk to Me” midway through the set seems to slap the audience in the face and demand that they pay attention. The band’s most well known track “Voices” initially feels more stripped back than the single version but hasn’t lost any of it’s soul. Once the deep grooves of the bass pounce, then pockets of the audience begin to move. The band take full opportunity of this momentum by indulging in one of their guilty musical pleasures and the song seeps into a very unique take on the Destiny’s Child track “Say My Name.”
Ryan Vail may have a background as a skilled producer, but everything that happens on stage is one-hundred percent live. Using every instrument at his disposal, including keyboards, synths and even a violin bow against a guitar, Vail’s minimalist electronic sound fills every corner of the room with a harmonious wave of tranquility. Joined on stage by his musical partner in crime Katie Cosgrove, the pair treat the audience to new songs such as “Fade” and “Become” as well as somewhat darker, deeper cover of the Alt-J track “Tessellate.” The audience seems to be divided between those who have fallen under the duos hypnotic, atmospheric spell and those who disrespectfully chatter in the background. It’s a real shame because seeing Ryan Vail construct his dark, melodic electronic music live without the use of fancy laptops and expensive instruments is a wonder to watch, particularly against the backdrop of mesmerizing, kaleidoscopic visuals.
Having played to festival crowds and been two time winners of the Choice Music Prize, Jape haven’t let recognition and success go to their heads, genuinely thrilled to be performing in front of Oh Yeah’s rather intimate audience. Performing tracks from their four-album tenure, the audience are treated to versions of “Too Many People” and “Ocean of Frequency” that are immediately more electrifying than their studio recorded counterparts. Fan favourite “Floating” is given the rock and roll treatment as the normally sedated dream-pop effervescence of the song is disturbed by a schizophrenic guitar solo towards the end, and is without a doubt the highlight of the set.
The eccentric and flamboyant stage presence of front-man Richie Egan completes the Jape package. Taking frantic leaps from instrument to instrument, and spinning yarns about getting booed off during a Two Door Cinema Club support slot, the bearded Dubliner sets the pace. The audience respond in kind by joyously bouncing along to the band’s unique indie-pop beats, blissfully content with the fact that Jape are back in their lives.