In previous Sonic Breakfast ‘end of year’ posts, I’ve put together a ‘Top Ten’ of featured acts that have most excited me across that year. It somehow doesn’t feel right to do so in 2020 when all music to have given me a modicum of joy should be hailed and praised.
I am going to pick out one live gig I went to and one song/band for top accolades though. Today, I’ll start with the live show before ending 2020 with the number one band. Drum roll please.
Venues and live gigs have been through the mill this year. It seems so long ago that I was crammed into enclosed spaces with others that it’s barely conceivable that such behaviour took place in 2020. Few could see the doom that was on the horizon when I crossed London in February to rock up at the Coronet Theatre in Notting Hill for the wonderfully intimate, sold out and packed ‘audience with Lail Arad and JF Robitaille show’.
Readers of Sonic Breakfast can refresh themselves with my review from that evening here. It begins with an inappropriate throwaway comment about Coronavirus and ends with the observation that Tuesday evenings don’t get better than this.
Lail and JF appear to have had a year of consolidation this year. I see occasional posts about new songs being written and sometimes they post videos of songs they have covered during lockdown. They recently uploaded a cover of a sad Christmas tune (Blue Christmas) that ably demonstrates (as if any reminder was needed) how their voices work together to create all sorts of spine-tingling magic.
There’s been arty pictures in the Financial Times and spurts of creative writing but mostly this has been a year in which Lail and JF desire to be out on the road touring. They clearly miss creating that connection that can really only come from playing your music in a live setting. And I miss being in the crowd to witness such delight.
I know that I’m not alone when I say that I miss gigs. The life I had just twelve months ago when I hopped onto London buses to travel across the City most evenings now seems like it was a lifetime ago.
I was delighted to read about the trial being carried out in part by the organisers of Primavera Sound. The forward-thinking Catalonian festival put on a gig in Barcelona at the weekend for more than 500 people. They all had PCR tests and rapid-result checks before entering the Sala Apolo for an evening of entertainment. The ‘results’ of the experiment will be available from January. My fingers are crossed as I’m sure are other fans of gigs, festivals and mass-crowd gatherings. (Read more here).
Gigs will become odder – of that there is no doubt. One act well placed to benefit from such a change would be LegPuppy. It might have been Halloween when I saw them at the Victoria last year (review here) but the theatrical, dystopian and bizarre world they inhabited now feels like an astute and prescient observation of the immediate future.
I was delighted to see that DIZZY PANDA, a duo from the Netherlands, cited the influence of LegPuppy in their press release for recent single, Turn Off The Light. I asked Mike from the band about that and he confirmed that LegPuppy ‘really inspires us to develop in a certain direction.’
Even before such a declaration, Turn Off The Light’ already marks DIZZY PANDA as ones to watch. A psychedelic electro-triphop track, it ambles along like a wayward nursery rhyme. Managing to be both ridiculously cute and ever-so-slightly sinister, the chug of the keyboard line consistently chips away as the child-like vocal forms on top.
The self-produced video, evidently a lockdown labour of love for DIZZY PANDA, provides a sketch for the sketchiness; it all comes together as a glorious whole.
DIZZy PANDA are an act that I’ll look forward to seeing live one day. “We hope you could help us out as our family and friends don’t like what we do :-)”, say the band. I’m sure that the good readers of Sonic Breakfast will oblige.