Gotan Project- Manchester Bridgewater Hall - 27.4.03

The last time we were at the Bridgewater Hall was to see Dr John. The time before that it was Vanessa Mae. The Gotan Project marks the first time we've seen a DJ in this predominantly classically orientated venue and marks a shift in direction to a more open minded approach to music in the future. With a core of 3 french DJ's and producers (Phillippe Cohen Solal, Eduardo Makaroff and Christopher H Muller) they're often mentioned in the same breathe as Air and Daft Punk but their live shows offer a more organic traditional set-up than any of the aforementioned acts.

During the first half of tonight's performance explores the relationship between cinema, dance and music and features what the kids would call a Gorillaz styled live show but is much more in the tune of French art house cinema where live bands often soundtrack films. It's an interesting concept and the use of subtle lighting only enhances the already unique experience. What's noticeable from the outset is how organic and live the actual music sounds in comparison to the recorded versions on "La Revancha Del Tango" and when the screen drops to reveal a simple set up of just piano, accordion, guitar, violin and occasional female vocals backed with the DJ and producer it's easy to see why the Gotan Project has such a wide crossover appeal. Yet still when they throw in old skool hip hop samples "Woo Woo It's the sound of the police" and "Shabba" into the mix you can't help but feel that they're lost on much of the audience.

Encoring with 2 new songs, one based around an Argentinian football chant and the other dedicated to the tango, for most bands would be a death knell but with the Gotan Project it's not necessarily about the individual songs, but instead about the mood and feeling's the full ensemble create. Tonight,, I feel we saw a band very much compromised by it's surroundings and at the same time they road the storm and came out laughing the other side. What would be interesting next time is if they explored the beats and rhythm displayed on their album and approached the whole show from the mindset of a clubber and only then can we grasp a true understanding of the Gotan Project.

Alex McCann

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