When I arrived at the Trocadero around 9:30pm on Tuesday night, I was expecting to find a packed house. Not only was Simian Mobile Disco set to perform, but the bill also featured Brooklyn up-and-comers Blondes and local Making Time favorites Dave P and Sammy Slice. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I found myself standing on an essentially empty dance floor. Due to an early show time, I’d missed Blondes’ set, but weirder yet was the fact that I was there for a good 30 minutes before any live music took place. During this time though, the “crowd” of ~40 people rallied hard, enthusiastically dancing to what was admittedly great intermission music.
Simian took the stage around 10pm, and it was immediately clear that the show would be well worth the wait. Their set-up was amazing and unlike anything I’d ever seen before. A massive, multi-faceted console featuring monitors, mixers, and synths was situated in the center of the stage. SMD’s James Ford and Jas Shaw were a joy to watch as they circled around the tables, making their intricate mixing look effortless. Their light set-up was just as impressive, featuring a huge wall of hexagons that lit up in perfect time with the music. It was by far the best and more ornate lighting I’ve seen at the Troc, and contributed immensely to the performance.
After a few songs, I turned around and was happy to see that the venue had filled considerably. Much of the 21+ crowd had left the bar to join the dance party, a pretty inevitable move considering how well Simian was playing. Their mixing was of extremely high quality, featuring perfect transitions complimented by a great sound set-up. While SMD’s typical style and structure is a little all over the place, it was obvious that this small sense of uncertainty was 100% intentional, and the crowd loved it. Each build and drop was consistently met with cheers and increasingly intense dance moves as the audience took in the mind-blowing sights and sounds.
After only an hour, Ford and Shaw wrapped up their set with a fantastic mix of their classic “Tits & Acid” from Attack Decay Sustain Release. It was obvious that neither the performers nor the audience wanted the show to end, so an obligatory high-energy encore followed. Simian Mobile Disco played a fantastic set, the quality of which I’d previously not found in an electro show in Philly. Here’s hoping that this is just the beginning of many comparably enjoyable shows to come.
Have a listen to a few of my favorite Simian tracks below, and take a look at some pictures as well!