I have to start this review by congratulating Bitchin Bajas for their tremendous effort as they literally had just flown into the UK from their home city of Chicago, Illinois (via Italy) and arrived at the Prince Albert and unloaded their music gear just as the support band were coming on stage. The Bajas boys were surprisingly relaxed (or was it tiredness?) considering the ordeal they had just been through, they didn’t even have time to freshen up. But hey that’s the music world!
Bitchin Bajas comprise of Cooper Crain, Rob Frye and Dan Quinlivan and they are on their ‘sensory journey through all paths that guide them’ – that’s on tour to you and me! From Brighton they travel to London, Manchester, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Portugal and then back home to the USA. It’s amazing that they arrived with minutes to spare, especially as there had been a change of venue from Bau Wow to the Prince Albert.
How best to describe what the Bitchin Bajas are about, well, I saw this video on YouTube nearly ten years ago of a rare Kraftwerk tv appearance from 1970. It was in black and white and the crowd were seated on the floor and were in awe of these guys (Ralf , Florian and some other guy) playing their keyboards, flute etc. Well tonight’s performance greatly mirrored that. We were mainly seated on the floor, there were three guys, there was keyboards and flute, there was chilled out hypnotic freestyle synth- jazz.
The Bajas were well into their music, they were absorbing the sounds whilst most of the time they had their eyes shut. No they weren’t asleep from their long journey. Their captivating set was so chilled out that it was horizontal at times. The sort of score one might find incorporated into a dreamy summer film sequence in a movie.
Alas, there was no encore, but they were more than likely shattered. If the very early Kraftwerk albums ‘Kraftwerk’ (1970), ‘Kraftwerk 2’ (1972) and ‘Ralf Und Florian’ (1973) and Neu! are you bag maaan, then the Bitchin Bajas need to be in your record collection. Watch a recent video of them HERE of ‘Chokayo’, which is taken from their recent album ‘Bajas Fresh’ which was mastered in Abbey Road. It’s out on Drag City Records, so investigate it here: https://bitchinbajas.bandcamp.com/
Chill-out to Bitchin Bajas here: http://www.dragcity.com/artists/bitchin-bajas
For those who were wondering about that Kraftwerk performance, someone has now uploaded the full performance HERE.
The support this evening came from Brighton based trio Merlin Tonto, who are Owen Thomas (electronics), Miles Boyd (bass) and Steffan Eliades (drums). The guys have been manipulating electronic sounds since 2013 and thus creating a plethora of otherworldly sounds that you can dance to or chill out and just absorb.
Tonight, they were in their stripped down format of just knob twiddling electronics, so no Steffan on drums and no sign of a bass either. I haven’t yet witnessed their trio format but I did really enjoy what this duo were up to and thankfully they are local, so I might be able to catch their set some time soon, when they book something – hint! Hint!
Their opening track reminded me of the 1994 Top 30 hit ‘Find Me (Odyssey To Anyoona)’ by Jam El Mar and Mark Spoon aka Jam & Spoon. This track can be found on the ‘Tripomatic Fairytales 2001’ album which actually came out in 1993. The words Tripomatic Fairytales would be a good way to describe Merlin Tonto’s set tonight for us as it was rather trancey with elements of Jean Michel Jarre and there were no gaps in between songs, it just flowed as one continuous enjoyable performance. They are arguably Brighton’s answer to Orbital. See what I mean by watching their ‘Beat The Sun‘ video HERE.
If you like it, you can purchase it from Brighton’s ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ label here: https://lovethyneighbour.bandcamp.com/album/baotou or from the band here: https://merlintonto.bandcamp.com/
Find out more about Merlin Tonto here: https://www.facebook.com/MerlinTonto/