"Merrill Garbus raises the roof"
by William Dyer for remotegoat on 16/02/10

All bottlers of goodwill better have been at Cargo last night - on the basis of crowd adulation afforded to Merrill Garbus's fast-rising musical outfit she seems to have more than enough to spare. In one of those all too rare moments where a gig seems to really become a communal event, Garbus had this Upset the Rhythm crowd in raptures.

But first, back to the support. I must confess to not managing to catch the whole set from Montreal band 'Think About Life'. I must also confess to not being overly disappointed by this based on what I heard (which strangely brought to mind New Labour-adopted D-Ream as much as any other band I could think of) but I think that was probably just me. Everybody else seemed to fully into it (none more than the band themselves) - maybe the relentless East-coast positivity got a bit too much for me.

But no matter, next up were UTR's favourite daughters Trash Kit, and as ever they served up a grin-inducingly infectious blend of guitars and rhythms. Seemingly struggling with sound problems as the result of a non-existent soundcheck, this still didn't hold them back much - running through a set of short songs (some barely seemed to break the minute mark) that gave as many reasons as you'd need to go and buy their album when it comes out on UTR next month. Not sure what it is about them but they always seem to put a smile on my face.

These smiles were infectious from the minute that Tune-Yards took the stage. Merrill Garbus is possessed of a voice that could make anything worth listening to I'm sure. Thankfully she also has the tunes to back it up though. In a pleasingly sparse set-up that relied simply on drum/vocal loops she built up alongside some fluid bass-playing from Nate Brenner she conjured up tracks from her excellent 'Bird-Brains' debut in a way you'd call effortless if it wasn't for the fact that she clearly puts so much effort into it. It takes a special kind of person to elicit so much affection from an audience but Garbus was clearly as moved by the experience as the whole audience were with her. With Tune-Yards rapid trajectory seemingly assured it's hard to see her playing a venue as small as this again for quite some time (which is saying something as Cargo is clearly not tiny either) but it seemed like each and every one of the audience was fully aware that they'd experienced something very special indeed.

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