GOMA’S Up Late programme has brought many great bands, but none as evocative as Melbourne electronic group Black Cab, which they brought to life in the middle of GOMA’s Marvel film exhibition.
Without introduction, musicians Andrew Coates and James Lee each took to their synths, generating a drone. Between them was a massive collection of Japanese taiko drums, as played by members of Brisbane’s TOKO-TON. The thumping of the drums drew guests out of the galleries to gather in front of the stage.
‘Akira’ was performed as one complete, unbroken piece, with one track seguing into the next. As the score went along, I had vivid images appear of the scenes they’re soundtracking.
I imagined chases through harsh metropolitan environments when haunting notes were buried under the gallop of drums. A barren wasteland appears over the lone throbbing of a synth. Samples of fuzzy radio broadcasts and seagulls take you to an isolated boat or island, awaiting rescue.
It wasn’t just scenes Black Cab conjured, but emotions, too. A track with soft synth chords blooming gave me the feeling our hero has fallen in love with their companion. The closing track, filled with chimes and intermittent taiko drum hits, was triumphant. Even though the audience had no idea it was the finishing track, it elicited a round of applause, possibly due to the feeling of a successful mission being completed.
GOMA was the perfect environment for ‘Akira’ to be performed. I didn’t have much trouble imagining scenes, but the gallery provided a lot of stimuli. The performance space overlooks the Brisbane River, with high-rises on the other side filling in the city I imagined. And the robots and weapons from the Marvel Films exhibition provided inspiration for enemies. It was too appropriate Black Cab were performing with a giant Iron Man nearby looking down upon them.
The gallery has put in a lot of effort in presenting this series of Up Late, and it hits the mark. GOMA has provided a unique space for artists to perform, and Black Cab made great use of it, filling it with their fantastic score. Up Late is a great late night experience that provides the best fusion of music and art in Brisbane.