Beyond the Loop Takes Over King's Place for Eclectic Gigs in October 2009

Posted: 18th August 2009

Cultural and artistic hub, King's Place in York Way London, often hands over curative control to outside promoters and musicians and the dates from Wednesday 7th October to Saturday 10th October are no exception.

John Metcalfe may not be a household name or one that springs to mind whilst perusing NME or Q, but he has been at the forefront of British contemporary classical music for the past couple of decades. The Duke Quartet were formed by Metcalfe around the time of Post -Punks demise yet his ensemble contributed strings to tracks by Morrissey, Simple Minds and Pretenders as well as backing up his own solo works and a batch of albums by under-rated Factory act Durutti Column, and it is this act that heads up a pretty formidable selection of acts during the week John Metcalfe took over York Place.

The 7th sees Warp electro-funkateers Red Snapper and percussive paramours Ensemble Bash kick off a promising week. Red Snapper have steered themselves and Warp through financially stormy waters during their 10 year stay at the Sheffield label and now record for Lo Recordings after several solo projects. Many releases gathered huge praise from the press especially their 1996 debut album "Prince Blimey" and the club anthem "Some Kind Of Kink" from 2000. Ensemble Bash merge jazz, African and contemporary rhythms and make a very lovely fountain of noise courtesy of works by Nitin Sawhney, Graham Fitkin (another ex-Factory artist), Steve Reich and Anne Dudley as well as collaborations with Stewart Copeland and Evelyn Glennie.

Thursday 8th rounds up Metcalfe himself with his band and Coldplay contributor Jon Hopkins. John Metcalfe and Hopkins will blend electronic flavourings with classical and contemporary arrangements with strings at the heart of it all.

Friday 9th October will see the unveiling of the exquisite eccentricity of Factory's first-born The Durutti Column. If you haven't heard guitarist and lead-luminary Vini Reilly's amazing fret-trickery then you really should make the effort to see DC live at this venue. I saw them at WOMAD in 1988 and was surprised at how elated the audience became with this introverted yet determined man and his merry band of musicians. Oh, and if you are a drumming muso, check out Bruce Mitchell - the bloke is a legend. Their albums are a mixture of instrumental romantic interludes and vocal stories of despair and joy that seemed to elude most music press during their time on Factory back in the late 70's to the early 90's, despite crafting ground-breaking albums such as "The Return Of....." (with Martin Hannett and often acclaimed as his finest half-hour), "Without Mercy" (with Metcalfe and co and a really adventurous piece to put out on an indie label in those days) and the acid-ambient journey of "Obey The Time" (1990 - this pre-empted The Orb and The Grid by a good 12 months). His latest releases, "Sunlight To Blue" (one of his best) and "Love In The Time Of Recession" displayed a vast array of musical styles (including the infamous Reilly vocals) so you should be in for a varied and passionate night. The Duke Quartet fittingly start the evening (they also appeared on a Factory album or 2).

Finally, another quality ex-Warp act helps to bring the week to a conclusion. Plaid have carved a large old niche on the bedpost of forward-thinking electronica and techno, not only as Plaid but also as Black Dog Productions and Bilal. Their output is almost as prolific as Durutti Columns' but their most memorable include albums such as "Trainer" and "Not For Threes" as well as a Mange soundtrack ("Tekken Kinkreet") and "Greedy Baby" (launched at the London IMAX). Their music is often described as Artificial Intelligence Music or 'difficult ambience' but there is an underlying beauty about the beats. See them.

The true finale on the same night is provided by acclaimed The Bays and various members of John Metcalfe's entourage as they embark on an experimental contemporary jam that promises to demonstrate some pretty hardcore electronic software and good old traditional 'thinking-on-the-spot'.

This eclectic festival has a very limited availability of 'last-minute' saver tickets for £6.50 - keep em peeled! Otherwise prices start at a reasonable £11.50. King's Place is close to King's Cross stations.

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