Live Music Review: Grouper @ The Luminaire

By Londonist Last edited 110 months ago
Live Music Review: Grouper @ The Luminaire


Last night saw Oregon based mistress of drone folk Liz Harris aka Grouper hush a teeming Luminaire crowd in Kilburn. Presented by the London based music promoter Upset The Rhythm, Grouper was accompanied by Silk Flowers; an otherworldly darkwave synth-pop Brooklyn trio and self billed athletic rhythm / action unit Thank You hailing from Baltimore.

Silk Flowers kicked things off with a few from their 2009 self-titled album notably the album opener 'Flash of Light', a throbbing echoed backing, driven by the calm sinister baritone voice of singer Aviram Cohen who will undoubtedly be compared to Ian Curtis. For a band peppered with comparisons ranging from Throbbing Gristle to Joy Division and Kraftwerk they produce a distinctive concoction of deep entrancing synth and no-fi muffled haze which is undeniably intriguing and exactly what you would expect of a band that was hand picked by a member of No Age to release an album on his label.

Next up were Thank You who were so full of vigour and expressiveness from the start that you felt transported into a giant speeding hamster wheel filled dustbin lids and a thousand wailing mallards, but between the no-wave chaos were moments of inspiring melodic cohesion and ingenious skittering drum riffs. The set was not without hiccups; during the first song guitarist Michael Bouyoucas’ string broke and after almost every song the sound had to be adjusted but this didn’t kill the buzz of what can only be described as a joyfully exhilarating set.

Then there was Grouper. Unruffled calm engulfed the room as she sat down with her hood mystifyingly covering her eyes and fidgeted with her guitar whilst the static muffled thunderstorm effects from the opener of Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill ran alongside starry imagery on the projector. Her voice is out of this world, a ringing blend of haunting purity, which would turn even the most hyperactive kid introspective. This however was the problem, it is music you don’t want to stand and observe but rather slump into a contented slumber and float off into a place that only your own mind can create.

Rob Young

Last Updated 06 November 2009