Concert Review: Mt. Wolf, Anchorsong @ Cargo, London, England

It’s Friday. You’re gearing up for the weekend, and looking for something exciting to do (besides “washing your hair”, which is what all the ladies I asked out on dates are doing). For those of you in the know, or if you read the PeteHatesMusic Interview the other day, you would know you should’ve started your weekend on Thursday at Cargo, checking out Anchorsong.

The Japanese electronic artist, now based in London, brought his well-reviewed live show to London, promoting his recent album, Chapters. Did Anchorsong (aka Masaaki Yoshida) live up to his reputation?

Before we get to Anchorsong, let’s talk about the openers, Mt. Wolf, who were a VERY pleasant surprise. PHM arrived at the venue earlier than intended, which meant more beers (yay!) and a chance to check out the opening act, Mt. Wolf.

Mt. Wolf are a 4 piece, with 2 guitarists and no bass, and a female singer. Although I’m not one for comparisons, the singer sounds like a “normalized” Bjork, sprinkled with a bit of Kazu Makino from Blonde Redhead. Besides having the 2 guitarists, singer Kate Sproule also plays the violin – can you say “double threat”?

Kate’s booming vocals on the opening song definitely woke me up and screamed “this is a band to be reckoned with”. The band has great rhythms, making good use of the acoustic and electric guitar in their arsenal, and the opening song set the bar high for the rest of their show.

The 2nd song opened with violin, and with a lack of a proper bassist, the song was a bit “trebly”, showing that they might benefit from more than just the bass drum on bottom end.

The 3rd song evoked Blonde Redhead in terms of Kate’s vocals, and the song had a slow and gorgeous acoustic melody. After the song, the band said it was one of their first gigs. Given their stage presence, and fantastic execution, I would not have believed that statement had they not said it.

Mt. Wolf played for 30 minutes, and were a dynamically good band, expertly fitting in (and not over doing) Kate’s violin skills. The unsigned band displayed good melodies and excellent vocals, and I was definitely glad I arrived early to catch them. Someone sign them so they can put out a record already! Check out some of their stuff on their SoundCloud page.

While the band played, there was a projection screen behind them, which they weren’t in control of. Since the gig was being run by Soundcrash, while Mt. Wolf played, the crowd was “treated” to Soundcrash ads on the screen behind the band, both before and DURING Mt. Wolf’s set . Why was this necessary?!

Before and after Mt. Wolf, the crowd got to hear the DJ skills of Throwing Snow. I’m not sure if he hosts a club or DJ night, but he definitely should, as his mixing and song selection was excellent, and kept the crowd entertained between acts.

Anchorsong entered wearing a white hoodie (or jumper as they strangely say in the UK) with the hood flipped up over his head. He moved around the stage from his MPC2500 sampler to a synth, to create loops and add layers to his songs. He even had fancy green lasers ala Coldplay to spruce up the visual effects.

After 2 songs, Anchorsong noted that it was his launch party for his Chapters album. He also noted that he usually plays on his own, but brought with 4 string players, who definitely enhanced his performance.

The sound was great for Anchorsong’s set, the Soundcrash visuals on the screen were turned off, but no visuals for Anchorsong replaced them. Anchorsong moved around from his instruments, adding loops to the perfectly built songs. For the 3rd song, the synth sounded like LCD Soundsystem’s did on their 45:33 album that they did for Nike.

The 5th song was The Crossfire, which I fine a tad annoying on the studio track, but it sounded better live, and the strings were a nice complimentary feature, and did not dominate the track.

After song 6, which was a repetitive track, Anchorsong noted that he was going to play by himself for a bit, and that he hoped it would be more uplifting. He also told the crowd that they can dance, or they can drink. You don’t need to tell PeteHatesMusic twice that they can drink!

The first song he played by himself was a nice, slow building song, which eventually turned the dance floor into dance central. Anchorsong followed this up with a fast paced 8th song.

The strings returned for song 9, which was Devil’s Clap, and featured looped clapping, and a laser show that was quite crazy. It almost looked like a 5 year old boy had taken control of the lasers somehow and was having the best day of his life.

After Devil’s Clap, Anchorsong announced that the next song was their last song, to a chorus of boos, which I’ve always thought is an odd backhanded compliment at a concert. The last song wasn’t his strongest effort, and I feel he should either cut out the song, or switch the order of songs 9 and 10 and end on the strong song that was Devil’s Clap.

Anchorsong didn’t make the crowd wait long for an encore, which he shyly announced to a sea of cheers. At the end of the song, confetti rained out, which he said he didn’t plan. I know the feeling – when I walk into my kitchen and confetti explodes, it really is a bit weird. The last song, which might have featured a Bjork sample (8 beers in and you lose an ear for these things), had an awesome dance party ending on the dance floor. Anchorsong left the stage after 1 hour and 15 minutes of rocking the crowd.

If you get a chance to see either Mt. Wolf, or Anchorsong – do it – it is time well spent.

PHM Rating for Mt. Wolf: 8.5 out of 10
PHM Rating for Anchorsong: 9.0 out of 10

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Trick S. says:

    Mt. Wolf just payed a surprise visit to the KC Turner Presents Tuesday Open Mic at Red Devil Lounge in San Francisco, CA last night (May 15, 2012). The front trio of Kate Sproule and the 2 guitarists were just as you say, a wonderful musical treat indeed. I’ve only once before witnessed the usually noisy crowd that attends this open mic totally hushed, for indeed it was mesmorizing music. I spoke with Kate after the two songs they played and Mt. Wolf is in the States for their first time, a 10-day trip, and were leaving for an event they were playing at in Reno, Nevada today. I too got an immediate sense of Bjork in Kate’s singing and would love to see the band share a stage with a local band of equal nature someday, Ghost Town Jenny. Thanks for the review!

  1. 2012/09/28

    […] was in the crowd to see Anchorsong one night back in March, but what was a nice added bonus was the stunning opening band, Mt. Wolf. From singer Kate […]