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Portico at KOKO Review

Portico Quartet @ Koko

Portico Quartet’s performance at KOKO last night  follows the March release of their new ‘Live/Remix’ album, their third full length release on ‘Real World Records’. The London based four-piece undoubtedly lived up to all the glowing reviews and the adulation that they have received over the years from both young music fans and older music aficionados alike. Since the release of the first album in 2007, the group have gone from strength to strength. Their steady increase in popularity ensures that playing to large scale, renowned venues such as KOKO is now a regular occurrence for them.

They definitely seemed at home on KOKO’s stage, the huge venue and powerful sound system helped to convey the majestic yet graceful feeling that is present in the majority of their music. This is a band that is clearly aware of the importance of contrast, the mesmerising and haunting soundscapes intensified the drive of the percussion when it arrived in full force. This ebb and flow of dynamics was complimented perfectly by the hypnotic light show – the pinnacle of which was when all stage spotlights pointed directly up into the colossal disco ball hanging from the ceiling of KOKO. The thousands of multicoloured spinning stars thrown across the hall provoked an audible gasp from the crowd, who were completely involved in the emotion of the music. 

The band performed live versions of the majority of tracks from their third, self titled studio album. Personal highlights for me included ‘City of Glass’ which was definitely one of the more upbeat numbers in the set. The slow progression and build up of ‘Laker Boo’ was perfectly delivered. Also ‘Rubidium’ was an excellent showcase of Nick Mulvey’s use of the Hang, the soft, warming melodic tones of which rang out clearly throughout the venue. 

At the end of the night, the quartet was joined on stage by vocalist Cornelia to perform the track ‘Sleepless’. The inclusion of vocals is a new move for the band, and definitely adds a new dimension to the sound. Although I am interested to see if they include more work with the Cornelia or other vocalists in the future – I think that it is not a necessary addition and perhaps could even detract from the sparse, reflective nature of a lot of their work. It is however good to see that they are adjusting the formula and trying to create something new instead of becoming stuck within the confines of the style they have cultivated up to this point.


Review - Miles Courtney

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