Submotion Orchestra were back in Liverpool to shake the walls of 24 Kitchen Street, Getintothis’ Mike Stanton rode the soul-rumbling bass and watched a mighty show.
It was great to be back at 24 Kitchen Street, such a cool and intimate venue that allows the music to breathe and express itself. It is one of those venues that is all about the music rather than about the place itself. There are no frills, the walls are brick-bare save a few hanging curtains, there are a few string lights hanging from the exposed steel beams, a large glitter ball the only sign of any bling.
Here, the audience is so close to the performance area that they are almost part of the show. This gives the band a unique chance to interact with them on a personal level, allowing for some great interaction. Submotion Orchestra is a perfect band for this. Their energy and enthusiasm on stage are so infectious and unashamedly joyous that the crowd becomes completely swept up in the set. They treat us to a set brimming with verve and swagger giving us highlights from their back catalogue as well as showcasing tracks from their latest album Colour Theory.
First up, though, is Catching Flies, one-man project of London-based producer and DJ Nathan Greenwood. He creates warm, analogue-tinged downtempo with the aura of soul-infused trip hop. Quiet and unassuming he does more than warm up the crowd; he finds space and textures in the grooves he produces with each flick of his wrist. It is a short but punchy set and held the steadily growing audience.
Submotion Orchestra open with Doppelganger, a thumping, dub-heavy instrumental with light synth touches; and the tone is set. But it is with Alyusha’s introduction that everything falls into place. Alyusha is mesmerising on stage. She beams at her fellow band members and the audience, exuding a vibrancy and warmth. Her voice is pitch-perfect and soars around the space with an emotional intensity that flares and shapes in the darker corners of the room. Time Will Wait powers out air-rippling bass that physically shakes us as we look on. Red Dress sparkles and shines with sweetly coiling melodies, Alyusha’s voice glides above the dubstep beats and bass rumblings. The whole band are in the zone, grooving out with seeming abandon.
Blindspot is another instrumental interlude that acts as a palate cleanser before Billy Boothroyd takes to the stage to front his co-written song from Colour Theory, More Than This. Billy is relaxed and charismatic and possesses a fine voice of range-sweeping falsetto. The band create an atmosphere of emotional depth and warmth. Billy continues vocal duties on 1968 and his easy croon fits perfectly. Another instrumental break and we are into Alyusha’s It’s Not Me It’s You. She dazzles, sculpting each note, each refrain as the tune bounces, sending dub-beats and buzzing bass scurrying into the darkened corners once again.
The band obviously love jamming, grooving and shaking to the propulsive beats they cloak the bouncing audience with. Everyone is into this, properly moving and grooving to the electrifying set. Submotion Orchestra are a talented collective, from both vocalists to Bobby on trumpet, Taz on keys, Chris playing wall-crawling bass, Tommy on drums, Danny on percussion and Dom (on the mixing desk) doing an ace job as engineer and FX.
The whole experience is intoxicating. Live they shrug off the shackles of the studio and really express themselves with flair, innovation and energy. To witness a band enjoy and revel in their music to the extent Submotion Orchestra did is pretty rare. By the end the band were standing, nodding, dancing and bouncing to the music with the crowd joining in and it was one big celebratory communal party. It was the joy of joys.
All photography by Getintothis’ Glyn Akroyd