We arrived at the Falmer student campus, finally found the ACCA and grabbed a drink at the bar. As we entered the atmospherically lit venue, we made our way to the front and were greeted by a simple yet elegantly set stage. A double bass lay peacefully on its side, flanked by a drum kit and to it’s right, a Steinway baby grande piano.
The band approach the stage in a humble manner and, without a word, break into the song, ‘All Res’. The song opens with a beautiful piano part and a bowed bass accompaniment, before drummer Rob Turner kicks things off with a beat that sounds like it belongs somewhere between an Aphex Twin and a Squarepusher record. You see, GoGo Penguin are a band of few words, they very much allow the music to speak for itself, there is no cause for a big show, and the hauntingly beautiful cinematic sounds fill the room and encapsulate it’s audience.
Their musicianship is astounding, from Nick Blacka’s incredibly moving and powerful bass playing, to Chris Illingwort
Tonight they are trying out a new animated backdrop, nothing fancy, just a series of colours, shapes and images that compliment the music perfectly adding to what can only be described as an electric atmosphere in the venue. GoGo Penguin builds into a huge crescendo and before we knew it, the show was over, leaving everyone in the room a little dumbstruck, and wanting more.
In all honesty, GoGo Penguin were a bit of an unknown oddity for a few of us here at artnoise. Only really stumbling across them at the now famed Love Supreme festival, where for some of us, our socks were thoroughly blown off, what an incredible band.
Very few strictly instrumental acts can captivate an audience in quite the way this band can, GoGo Penguin are very much a band moving in their own direction and appear very comfortable in doing so, creating music that is as beautiful and uplifting as it is technical and clever, breaking new ground musically without alienating their audience.
November 2nd 2016
Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA), Brighton
Words by Lloyd Coote
Photography by Gili Dailes