SBTRKT and Cubic Zirconia @ Music Hall of Williamsburg 11.1.11

Aaaaaaaarooooooooon! and Sampha 
Truth be told, we get blasted into hyperspace quite often at shows. Our addiction to this feeling is what keeps us attending concerts despite ourselves. So after a night of mind-melting dance madness hosted by SBTRKT we had a change of heart: there's no use in planning to skip shows and save money next year.
Hell, we can't even sit out on an opener when planned if the music moves us.

NYC's own Cubic Zirconia's got us up off the floor and shimmying with timbale-happy disco house bangers. Once we caught wind of what was happening on stage, the sassy singer Tiombe Lockhart won our approval. Fearless and sensual, it was difficult to keep your eyes off her. She reminded us of Buraka Som Sistema's resident dancing queen Blaya but left much booty shaking to be desired. We'll chalk it up to her dress being too tight for her to get down harder than she did. Shit did get dark real quick for the last track, a rocking finale with Lockhart rightfully screaming her ass off. It was totally out of left for CZ virgins like ourselves but cool all the same.

Our own cool was lost upon catching the dynamic duo that makes up SBTRKT live set up their stations. Seeing Aaron Jerome and Sampha slay at this summer's MoMA PS1 WarmUp did little to prepare us for the craziness of a proper headlining show. A short set sandwiched between acts in broad daylight was great but there's a different quality to the energy of headlining the night and we couldn't be more psyched about the possibilities.

After a brief introduction from Mr. Jerome, the guys went head first into "Heatwave" while we plunged into insanity from the sound. The sold-out crowd moved to tricked out versions of songs from SBTRKT's out-of-this-world self titled debut. Sampha's sweet yet melancholy honey-rich voice got the best of us during "Trails of the Past" and "Something Goes Right," grooving as we wept inside. The particularly awesome Drake mix of "Wildfire" and a sick extended mix of our favorite "Pharaohs" (which they didn't play the first time we saw them) were no cause for tears but a dream come true, it was absolutely mental. Also thrown in the loop was new-to-our-ears title track from the equally euphoric Step in Shadows EP. I kicked myself after listening to this live since the EP has been sitting in my computer for weeks, untouched. Currently it's all I listen to. Snail said it's better we didn't listen to the EP before or we'd whine about how they didn't play more of it. She had a point.

All night, Aaron jumped from drums to theremin to mixers and laptop like a mad scientist, frenetically fetching the right test tubes for this surreal dance experiment he and Sampha were conducting on the audience. The result was a hallucinogenic experience that left us all crazy for more. After a stunning encore with "Never, Never" and a purchasing of the vinyl, we left on a high. Refusing to believe it was over we were forced to ask "Where's the afterparty?" To our delight they're to return for Phase II of the experiment in March and we're counting the days! --Cheep

Photo from SBTRKT's Seattle date by David Lichterman


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