Monday, 29 August 2016

Suren Unka & Levi Patel - Classical music meets Electronica on "5/8" at Lot 23

I caught the first show of Suren Unka and Levi Patel's joint classical meets electronic project "5/8" at venue Lot 23 a couple weekends ago with my friend Sai near Kingsland. For some reason I thought the gig was going to be in a run down warehouse in Ponsonby. I got all confused and thought the gig was going down at the art studio 230 were some great Auckland artists work out of haha. I guess that's what happens when you don't google the venue early in the week to make sure of crucial geographical details.

After playing cricket earlier in the day i rolled up to Sai's place round 8pm on Saturday at the Empire apartments in Auckland cbd. I waited for him for a couple of minutes and saw a beautiful young European couple check in. I overheard them muttering about the price of rooms something about what a rip of it was for 250 dollars or something. 

Once Sai was ready he appeared and we trooped off in the complete wrong direction like Don Quixote and his trusted side kick. Once we came to the stark realisation that we were at the wrong place, we quickly talked about how walks aren't bad however meaningless walks are to be avoided when you need to be somewhere. I mentioned how I believed meaningless walks with no fruitful end to be just slightly better than painful torture, waterboarding and the like.

After weighing up to get an Uber we flagged the idea as we both weren't well versed in the app and had low battery and brain power. Naturally i volunteered to pay for the taxi as I screwed up! so in we got and roared off toward Mt Eden were Sai said the venue actually was :) 

When we arrived the flaming venue was annoyingly close to my house which ground my gears for a second and slightly enraged me for a chilled out. We quickly paid our door charge and glanced in at the room down a white walled hallway were the gig was to take place. It was an intimate vibe definitely more romantic date night than head banging electro rave bender. Sai kept mentioning how he thought it might have been someones house that was converted into a music venue, which i thought it may have been. Then he changed tack and thought it was a recording studio. Instead I offered an account that perhaps the room was used for shooting videos and commercials due to the lights dangling from the ceiling which reminded me of my brief extras career on Shortland street lol. 

After a couple of minutes we identified a table to plonk down on I grabbed the first round of overpriced drinks. Probably the laugh of the night was when Sai asked the bar-lady who looked and sounded like the owner "do you sell RTDs?" which me made me crack up. He didn't immediately grasp the idea that this was a more middle-upper class establishment where they tried to rob you blind even over a small orange juice, not that i'm hating on them i mean people operating arts based venues need to make some form of profit to stay afloat especially in these dreary economy times. But sometimes I do feel they forget about people also trying to survive and how lower drink prices and higher volumes may make them more money, but i guess that all depends on their suppliers and how much they are tryna squeeze the venue for. About 5 minutes later after Sai came to the realisation that the woman really wasn't hiding any Ready to Drink coke and whiskeys behind the bar, he opted for Champagne which I thought was a miraculous decision. I'm also glad he chose bubbles as he had almost even completely convinced me that they were hiding RTDs behind the bar. I nonchalantly chose a lemonade with some funny childish drawing on it as i am avoiding alcoholic beverages. 

After fighting our way back through the bourgeois crowd nursing our drinks like new born babies Sai and I patiently sat down and offered the random clap at the opening act who played some pretty sweet piano chords re-creating previously rehearsed music live. He was playing synthesizers and live triggering some vibey soul samples.

Right in the middle of the room was Bob Frisbee mixing sound and the low end was just right with a nice balanced brightness on the overall mix.

 I had a quick glance at the desk

 he was using that 
 I've seen him man at quite a few gigs were for live sound. 

It looked slightly robotic with flashing lights and computer programmed algorithms and filters. I inwardly whimpered at what the user manual for such a piece of audio gear would resemble something probably harder to read than

 Karl Marx's Das Capital 

and likely exceedingly more boring and  confusing. 

On a side note whenever i think of Karl a Bukowski quote flashes through my mind "Don't read Marx, very dry shit!"

After another round of drinks i opted for a marvellously flavoured boysenberry drink or something of that elk. The headlining act aka Suren Unka and Levi jumped up on stage after mingling in the crowd and started drumming and playing synths coming out of the stage from all directions like sizzyling lightsabers.

Hands down my favourite song of the night was the one when Levi Patel started off playing the xylophone as it got into a real deep groove with the drumming slamming a way and strings and synths floating around everyone's heads like little halos.

Funnily enough the band got asked to play an encore but it looked like their repertoire was spent leaving the crowd hungrily wanting more with the random punter looking round like a stunned mallet trying to figure out what was going on? 

From my perspective I think the new E.P "5/8" is a quite mind expanding form of music slightly avant garde and not immediately accessible but potentially very rewarding if it hits you in the right mood and state of mind. Stream my favourite song off the record "Shelter" below; 

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