Meganoke/Cult With No Name/Jan Doyle Band/Cyberwaste

The Urban Bar Whitechapel, London -  4 May 2018

"A stunning performance"

So two trips to the Urban Bar in Whitechapel in two weeks (see here for review of the previous gig) and another DEF promotion (again featuring the Jan Joyle Band).

This was the debut live performance of Cyberwaste and the setup was very simple a Roland SP404-SX sample and effects units and an i-Phone which I believe was used to control the visuals, nothing more - not even a microphone. The music created was very well produced, atmospheric and well supported with the projected graphics.

I recognise that performing live for the first time is never easy. However, I had one piece of constructive criticism, I feel it would have really helped if there was some introduction to some of the tracks. This could have come either via an introduction by the artist, projection on screen, or an introductory voice sample (which would retain the simplicity of the setup). That said, the combination of music and visuals was most enjoyable and inventive.

Cyberwaste setlist: Opening, Sinking, Atom Place, December Water, Red Pill, Metamorphosis

Cyberwaste DEF Urban Bar Whitechapel
     Cult With No Name DEF Urban Bar Whitechapel
   Cult With No Name DEF Urban Bar Whitechapel

Photos [L-R]: Cyberwaste, Cult With No Name x2

I am going to be honest. I've always had difficulty with Cult With No Name. I am not sure if it is because keyboard player Jon Boux always sits down, if both members (Boux and singer Erik Stein) look incredibly smartly dressed, but they do not resemble any other electronic act. That said, once my head gets itself in order, I have always been impressed by the quality of the vocals and of the musicianship involved with their music.

If you listen carefully to the lyrics of their songs they're sometimes much darker than the underlying music communicates (which is very clever). It was whilst I was reading the sleeve notes on some of their CD’s I picked up that evening, I found it noteworthy that the band had collaborated with Blaine L. Reineger - whose track Mystery and Confusion is one of my all time favourites - as is much of his work with Tuxedomoon.

This might help me better understand the sophistication the band portrays. Having gotten my head around the concept a little better, I say please remain the act where the keyboardist always remains seated! :-)

Cult With No Name setlist: Context is Everything, Lies-All-Lies-All-Lies, Wasted, When I Was a Girl, Swept Away, Breathing, Everything Lasts an Age

Meganoke DEF Urban Bar Whitechapel
   Meganoke DEF Urban Bar Whitechapel    Meganoke DEF Urban Bar Whitechapel

Photos [L-R]: Meganoke x3

Meganoke's Meagan Jacobsen resides in Austin, Texas, and is currently on her 4 Corners mini world tour. She'd freshly arrived in London this afternoon from performing in Reykjavik, Iceland. Again, another simple setup with backing tracks and a microphone. Meagan introduced the DEF audience to trip hop. Which she describes as hip hop, but with sung vocals rather than rapping.

I have to say I feel it is somewhat more than that (at least when the performance is given by Meganoke). Her delivery, the lyrics and the style all add a significant dimension to the backing 'beats'. And the beats themselves are far more than just a drum machine, but carefully crafted electronic music. Chances are, if DEF had not promoted this event, I would not have seen this artist and that would have been extremely unfortunate. Whilst the term 'Trip Hop' does not fall into the genres of music I normally listen to, this was something altogether greater than such a label implies. Something special.

It was clear there was general agreement across the audience that this was a stunning performance from a captivating artist. All I can add is if you are in Oslo, Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Tokyo or Seoul (or back in Meganoke's home in the USA) and have an opportunity to see this artist then do.

Meganoke setlist: 10,000 LVKES, Bright Light, Fxnal, Hxlp, Let's Go, Killed It, Fated, Dope Ryder, Wonderful Way, Roulette, Encore: -3 of Life

Meganoke DEF Urban Bar Whitechapel
   Jan Doye Band DEF London    Jan Doyle Band DEF Urban Bar Whitechapel London

Photos [L-R]: Meganoke, Jan Doyle Band x2

Well, given it is only two weeks since I last reviewed Jan Doyle Band (at the same venue) you might expect there to be little for me to add. But truth is, tonight's performance was a completely different beast with Derek, performing solo - only to a backing track. Oh, and with more hair (extension assistance courtesy of Voi Vang!). Additionally, it should be noted that Jan Doyle Band are prolific creators of quality content, and as such the set list for the evening was very different from two weeks earlier.

Another captivating and exciting performance ensued. The highlight for me had to be when Derek announced his encore was from Yorkshire, 1978. I immediately thought The Human League (I suppose it could have been Cabaret Voltaire), and was delighted with the choice of Empire State Human.

Have to say I was singing along so much to this superb rendition I could hardly speak afterwards - a most enjoyable end to a most enjoyable evening.

Jan Doyle Band setlist: Feral Nihilist (soft), Nitrate Visions, The Within, Like, Timelapse (in collaboration with Teslacoil321), Best Man At The Worst Wedding, Play, Pretend, Empire State Human (The Human League cover)

A great set of performances to a small and appreciative crowd. If it goes to prove one thing, don't just rush away from London at the start of a Bank Holiday weekend - you never know what you might miss.

Review: Mark Smith & Rob Dyer
Mark Smith