Sunday, 19 February 2012

Introducing at The Hare and Hounds

"Who wants to get silly?" With this, Introducing launch in to Mr Scruff's 'Fish', a song so silly that a chorus that repeats the title over and over again isn't even the silliest part (for us, it's the line 'trout are freshwater fish/And have underwater weapons'). Playing a set of Scruff songs live will inevitably be sillier than working your way through DJ Shadow's Endtroducing - the group toured that in 2010 and we reviewed it here - but it made the night less about witnessing a musical experiment in returning sample-based music to its real-instrument origin, and more about throwing shapes so fluid that they flowed through the floorboards.

Just like the Shadow show, the sounds were perfect, from the guitar that opens 'Spandex Man', to the wobbly bass of 'Sweet Smoke.' All that was beyond their reach were the songs with rapping. Vocals were well dealt with, but an extra dimension could have been created by an emcee that would have enabled them to play 'Jusjus' or the brilliant 'Vibrate.'

First and foremost, though, Introducing are a great band. The songs they draw inspiration from are allowed to take centre stage because of their professionalism and cool showmanship. Their greatest features are crisp bass and a playful improvisation around the songs - including a ragtime break in the introduction to set-closer 'Get A Move On'. This meant that this was a night that reinvigorated Mr Scruff's back catalogue as well as paying homage to it. Even though the songs are more lighthearted than their previous project, Introducing take their duty to the artist that inspired them just as seriously.

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