A quick primer: while SBTRKT and Rustie, musically, are both electronic, they definitely feed from opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to performing.
When I caught them back in mid-June and they took to the Republic stage here in New Orleans, it wasn’t opposites at all — it was equal amounts of energy flowing forth.
Rustie, who was a last minute add, is a one man electronic/dub/house deejay. While being a last minute add offers some unique difficulties, he managed to muscle through them and kept the crowd energized all the way through his set. He made for the perfect appetizer for the main course.
Modern electronic music has branched off in many ways, but one of the most amazing facets of the new experience is when a band can take the recorded beats and transform them live with a band. SBTRKT is the alter ego and creation of Aaron Jerome where he can accomplish that new experience. There’s a beauty and mystery in anonymity as Jerome’s SBTRKT ego wears native society ceremonial masks with modern interpretations. They are designed by A Hidden Place and worn during his live performances.
Further bolstering the mystery is the amazing light show he puts on. Even though the female vocals were on a track, the audience really didn’t seem to care as Jerome commands the stage and the live drums by James Holdom and Fabiana Palladino on a wide variety of synths, vocals, and percussion tools add that extra texture. The set was comprised mostly of last year’s release Wonder Where We Land and the self-titled as well an amazing downtempo Radiohead cover and a few new tracks. All in all… a great evening.