SOHN + Mr Little Jeans
(9 May 2014: Bowery Ballroom New York)
Christopher Taylor, the musician known as SOHN, has been making a name for himself with productions and remixes for Disclosure, Lana del Rey, BANKS and many others when he released his EP The Wheel. The title track for that EP was included on his well-received new full-length Tremors. London born, SOHN (I think it’s pronounced Sean (like John with an S)) is now based in Vienna but visited New York for two sold out shows, the first of which was at the Bowery Ballroom on a Friday night. The venue was minimally lit by tube lights on the stage, the perfect accompaniment to the dark electronic/dubstep world and atmospheric ‘80s-tinged soundscapes created by SOHN.
Taylor welcomed Mr Little Jeans, the decidedly female Monica Birkenes to open for him on his present tour and she too has released an album this year Pocketknife, one we also awarded high marks to. Mr Little Jeans was well into her set by the time I arrived and I could see that a sizeable crowd had already become really engaged in her set, featuring songs like “Lady Luck” and “Good Mistake”, something that you don’t often see for openers.
With the stage reset for SOHN, Taylor came out clad in a hoodie and a beanie which only allowed for brief glimpses of his face in the bursts of strobe. He sat center-stage behind his keyboard and an array of dials with two bandmates on either side, neither of whom were given much light. Then the music came, skeletal at first but slowly the pieces built tracks new and old, like “Red Lines”, which I was not familiar with. “Bloodflows”, my current favorite, was a stuttering shadow rising over the succumbing audience. “Artifice”, near the end, had the Megaman-y intro I remember before it became a pulsing mass that got the audience moving. Essentially, SOHN created a dreamy darkness from which movement became the only way to prove you still had some sovereignty over your physical incarnation, because your mind was already firmly in his grasp.
Mr Little Jeans: