Kite Base/Hannah Peel/I Speak Machine (Tara Busch)

Shackelwell Arms, London - 9 September 2016

"One of the best performances I have ever seen"

Despite one day festival Electro London taking place the next day, meaning I would be out for most of Saturday, the opportunity to see both Tara Busch and Hannah Peel at the same event the night before was too great an opportunity to miss.

The Troika Tour consists of 3 bands with a rotating headline act for each gig between I Speak Machine (Tara Busch), Hannah Peel and Kite Base.

The opening act on this night was I Speak Machine, which consists of Tara Busch on Moog, effects and vocals with backing films by her partner Maf Lewis. The opening piece was Zombies 1985 a short film set in 1985, that involves Gary and Gemma Numan's children. The film was very retro and Tara's live soundtrack was incredible. This was followed by Dark & Lonely Water, Blood From A Stone and then into Tara's interpretation of Simon & Garfunkel's The Sound of Silence which was stunning. Next up were performances of Delia Is Falling, Crawl Home, Hellhouse and The Demon, and The Dove.

[I Speak Machine (Tara Busch) photo]    [I Speak Machine (Tara Busch) photo]    [I Speak Machine (Tara Busch) photo]

Photos [L-R]: I Speak Machine (Tara Busch) x3

The end of the show caught me unawares at first - the music built up and then Tara started singing a familiar tune "La, La La, La Lalla, La Lal La Lala" and it took me a few seconds to recognise it as the start of Tara's interpretation of Cars by Gary Numan. You could in no way describe this as a cover but is was absolutely brilliant, but in a totally different way to the original. The combination of Maf's films, Tara's ability to develop sounds and effects and the quality of the performance was incredible. One of the best performances I have ever seen. 9/10 (Not bad for an 'opening act'! LOL.)

Having been astounded by Tara's performance, I really did worry that Hannah Peel would struggle to follow it. I should not have had any such doubts. Hannah's music whilst still mainly synth based is totally different to Tara's, so complemented that performance very well. Hannah's set consisted of her tracks from her new album Awake But Always Dreaming which is out at the end of September 2016. The set list consisted of Standing On The Roof of The World, Hope Lasts, Tenderly, Don't Take It Out On Me, All That Matters, Cars In The Garden and Foreverest.

[Hannah Peel photo]    [Hannah Peel photo]    [Hannah Peel photo]

Photos [L-R]: Hannah Peel x3

Whilst most tracks were played on a mixture of synth and violin, a highlight for me was Cars In The Garden, played on a hand punched music box. Hannah was joined on stage by a live drummer that re-inforced the sound and her voice was beautiful. Again, another top performance. 9/10

Unfortunately I made the mistake of going for a drink before the Kite Base performance, and I returned to a very full stage area, and the sound quality in that part of the venue was not great. The tracks sounded very good, but it would be unfair for me to review, especially as time was pressing and I could only listen to the first couple of tracks. But what I heard was very good.

Overall this was an excellent night, my only dilemma was I had not taken much cash for merchandise, so I had to choose between purchasing Hannah's new album (available before release) or Tara's vinyl. In the end I went for Hannah's album as I really did want to hear it again, and did not want to wait until the end of the month. 9/10

Review & Photos: Mark Smith