Friday, 1 August 2014

Review // Theo Parrish @ The Ritz

My first post in an age, I'm sorry! In between all the madness that is currently my life, I was lucky enough to catch Theo Parrish's live show in Manchester, a fortnight ago, with my review up now on the award-winning 405's website. Isn't that nice? Click here to read, or scroll down for the unedited version... 
Review // Theo Parrish @ The Ritz
Following an exclusive album playback of his anticipated release ‘American Intelligence’, Detroit luminaire Theo Parrish, proves the only way to better a jazz-laden dish of electronic indulgence, is when a prestigious squad joins their selector. Oh and a decent back catalogue helps, of course. A favoured face on the club scene, Theo’s first first live shows in a decade led to a mass turnout at Manchester’s Ritz, a high-energy crowd readied for the transition of projects- usually sacred to the studio or club- in an immersive, hypnotic live experience. 
As dancers bound out onto the stage; brass, keys, guitars encasing them, the energy levels soar as a funk led introduction, effortlessly sets the tone. Sporting the furthest thing from uniform, including a bucket hat in one case, the performers taking centre stage dazzle with their moves and solos, ‘Walking Thru The Sky’s acid-jazz, fluently layering in. Vocalist Ideeya’s notes project far and wide, gleaming and demanding attention, before drum snaps crack in, each member of the troupe indisputably given to the beat. 
As personally a huge fan of Theo’s Sound Signature productions, when favourites like ‘Chemistry’ are performed well-seasoned, with synths full of body and sticky sweet croons, deviating away from the electronic-led original to a jazz jumped adaptation, is anything but sour and a welcome variation. Of course there are more prominent keys and a digital basis with the likes of ‘Control’, but taking a route more smooth, more brooding, makes it less explicitly sexy than the accompanying fan videos of the track found on YouTube, and allows itself air to breathe, the odd improvisational flurry maintaining a specifically rich tone, rather than something more rigid. 
With a blistering drum solo ahead of ‘Solitary Flight’ and formidable popping and locking to ‘Going Through Changes’, it’s easy to understand why London’s seated Barbican venue was chosen to house the same performance on this mini UK tour, with so much to also visually stimulate, the whole thing omitting an essence of a relaxed and comfortable- but excellent- enactment. This years Pièce de résistance ‘Footwork’, proves itself a worthy inclusion alongside his extensively impressive inventory, hi-hats shimmying in and then, that bass! Oh so unforgiving, oh so infectious. 
A superbly well executed live show doesn’t mean that Theo is hanging up his headphones any time soon, and as disciples to the House of Parrish, you’d forget it was his name atop the posters emblazoned across the building out front, each performer, musician and dancer, bold in their duties. Just don’t leave us waiting another decade, to sample the silky-soul setting of such an astonishing live show, and judging by the strong-hold applause and hollering as everyone erupted out onto the streets come 11pm, It's a unanimous contemplation that leaves me believing I'm not the only one...

Words by Yours Truly X

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