The Drake Underground was dark, very dark when we walked in the doors. It was Cinco de Mayo at the main floor bar of the hotel and perhaps it was the contrast between the bright lights, upbeat music and drunk Jimmy Buffett look-alikes that made the basement venue seem dark and quiet by comparison.
Ben Stevenson came on first. Armed with a guitar, his laptop and an array of different pedals, he said hello to the crowd and began his set. Soulful singing and reverbed guitars carried over dark slow production that used deep bass and drum tones as a counterbalance, creating a moody dark tone that fit well in the dimly lit venue.
The headliner Låpsley kept the ball rolling. Her electronic tinged music full of shuffling drums and soft ambient synths was the perfect vehicle, minimal but still very present behind her powerful voice. She also incorporated modulated samples of her own voice that added their own texture to the songs. The crowd cheered in hushed tones soaking in the atmosphere. Even though it didn’t seem to be the kind of show where it would happen, there was a small argument between a photographer and a group of girls behind me. The tone was positive as we made our way up the stairs slipping through margaritaville and out into the street.
Follow updates from Låpsley here.
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Review by Tristan Johnston