The opening act, Gazelle Twin, were great. The music was similar to Tricky's in its jarring quality, vulnerable lyrics and slightly sinister undertones. Both musicians wore masks obscuring their faces, and the main singer wore a blue tracksuit with the hood up, casting a shadow over her features. When the set was finished they simply walked off stage. A lack of formalities was expected - 'thank you' would have ruined the performance.
Tricky himself was otherworldly. for me the performance was slightly anticlimactic, only because i had been placing so much on it, expecting some sort of divine awakening. but that can't be fulfilled by one person alone, in the space of an hour and a half. i wasn't at all disappointed, but the concert went so quickly and i found it difficult to enjoy it in the moment - a lot of the night was spent internally deliberating whether to film or not.
Tricky was slightly drunk and disheveled. He sang in fragments. The set was not choreographed; the audience didn't know what was coming next, and neither did he. Each song was played how Tricky felt it must be in the moment - moving his fingers as though across a fretboard indicated to the bass player to begin, whilst thrashing his arms in the air told the drum player to come in. the impulsiveness of it made it feel as though you were witnessing something being created, and it was comforting to see Tricky have control over his music, as he should. The performance was powerful and haunting, but vulnerable. his intoxicated state mixed with the lack of rehearsal made you feel as though you were witnessing something you're not supposed to. as he crossed the stage, sometimes singing into both microphones at once, dragging the stand across the floor until a heap of wires lay tangled on the floor, i was awed but kind of saddened into silence. his presence was mercurial.
he intermittently dragged on a cigarette, tendrils of smoke swirling into the blue haze of the stage. he was so small but so big. at one point he was stood in the centre of the stage on a platform, with blue smoky lighting engulfing his frame, a huge arched window behind him. i remember just thinking that he looked beautiful. i was transfixed, wanting to capture it but knowing i couldn't.
he performed a mix of old and new songs, but for me his presence was more important than which tracks he did. one song consisted only of the two lines 'i'm by myself/i'm all alone'. it was painful but also powerful, a proclamation of solitude. another song had the repeated phrase 'i can't breathe' - perhaps in solidarity with Eric Garner? i didn't make the connection until my mum pointed it out. for some reason i don't think of Tricky as a political artist (although The Unloved (Skit) is pretty political), more as a troubled spirit sent to earth to make music.
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