Flamingods – The Hope and Ruin – 8th July 2016

In early June, Flamingods promised a road to self-discovery and adventure with their new album, Majesty. We followed the character ‘Yuka’ and his journey through the mythical world that the LP portrayed. It’s an immersive world of escapism and sensual indulgence and tonight, courtesy of Love Thy Neighbour, Flamingods are allowing The Hope & Ruin to see through their mind’s eye. Who would have previously thought Queens Road, Brighton could have such a magical glow to it?

Earlier in the night, Brighton’s Native Ray helped ignite proceedings. Their take on electronica and world music-infused rhythms would move between Animal Collective, Panda Bear and Orbital. For a support act they managed to pull quite the audience and rightly so as their music grew through pounding electronics. Native Ray are a band with no other contemporaries in Brighton, their music is exceptionally vivid and unique to themselves. The rhythmic qualities that the duo prove bounce and burble around, wetting the tongue of the audience tonight who sit tightly, awaiting the arrival of Flamingods.

As the London/Bahrain/Dubai five-piece arrive onstage, a mind-melting assortment of visuals rain down upon them. Glimmers of the Middle-East wash the stage attempting to visually portray some of the influences that deeply embed themselves within their sound. Asides from this, idyllic sunsets descend upon the group as they drift through the likes of ‘Rhama’ and ‘Majesty’. The stage seems to be perfectly set for the transcendence that Flamingods promise us this evening.

Initially the group seemed to struggle to assert their authority upon the crowd. It was almost as if they were slightly taken aback by their own presence, they seemed to freeze a little, with the music becoming confused with the atmosphere it was trying to set. The energy that they were trying to build within the audience was misfiring slightly. Instruments were struggling to find the right levels and ultimately the likes ‘Taboo Grooves’ suffered because of this.

This blip was not to last long though as the group proceeded to find their sound and when the levels were sorted, they managed to overcome the apparent stage fright that initially strangled them. ‘Yuka’ saw all five members prance around the stage, seemingly swapping instruments freely within songs. Each member took turns to toy with the fascinating theremin – erupting looped bass samples around the venue. ‘Rhama’ sounded humongous live because of this; the vibrating bass rhythm leant on Middle-Eastern tendencies with a methodic drumming pattern securely fitting on top.

Their flamboyant headwear and colourful stage dress-up provoked the imagery of their multicultural roots. It added another layer to the experience of seeing the group, making them even more exciting to see in the flesh than they let on when on record. Stuttered vocals and utilising an array of instruments in a fairly unconventional manner is how the group provide their left-field sound in the likes of ‘Jungle Birds.’ It became apparent throughout points in the set that their emphatic eclipsing of reality had made its way into the minds of the audience. For all intents and purposes, The Hope had completely relocated to some far-flung edge of reality. Crowd members shimmied to the stage in a magnetic fashion laying forth the image of Haight-Ashbury circa ’67.

Flamingods’ approach to the live stage far supersedes their personality on record. It is not to say on record they are poor by any stretch but when the message they are trying to convey finds its method of delivery in a live setting it is exceptionally compelling to watch. The escape they promise is something that contemporaries such as Goat try to piece together too. How Flamingods differ tonight is in how light-hearted it all feels. It is delicious music to hear, there is nothing intimidating and for that reason, it seems to be the perfect way to begin the weekend.
Tom Churchill

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