Run Toto Run + Mirrors – Proud Camden (31/07/2010)

It was a hen night, multiplied by fifteen, and surrounded by expensively dressed, expensively drunk dickheads. Other than that, Proud was like any Camden venue. It’s a pity the main DJ couldn’t mix, and the sound man/PA was bollocks, as at the centre of all of this, there was a pretty fun new band trying very hard to reach out to a new crowd.

Run Toto Run hail from Manchester, with a folk-singing frontwoman mixing it up with two electronic gadget toting whizzkids – neon tinged folk-tronic-electro-pop would be a rough approximation. Kicking off proceedings with a megaphone requires some pipes, and Rachael had a good go battling some awful sound to make sure we heard them. It was a pity that this wasn’t a well set up gig, as their recordings show the folkier, lyrical side of their sound, whereas what you got was mainly a fairly faithful approximation of late 80’s synthpop with a smattering of samplers and soft-round-the-edges IDM influences: great to bob the head to, but not exactly engaging.

Still, the effort to please, and the energy and enthusiasm carried through, and lifted their fairly short set up and drew in the punters. The low point was the song dedicated to superfan Simon, “Margot and Ritchie”, which on paper, and on record, sounds like a lovely little ditty about the film The Royal Tenenbaums, but petered out to a halt when the samples just failed to work – a pity, because it really sounds like a song that could build and explode, when it fires on all cylinders.

Live, Run Toto Run have a much more sugary, bouncy, neon sound than their demos and EP, simply because the music has to beef up to engage a crowd – in contrast to Mirrors, who seemed so aloof that I doubt they engage with each other.  Incomprehensibly, the crowd seemed to warm to them, probably because they dressed like Kraftwerk, danced like a demented David Bowie and sounded like a worse version of these two artists mixed with a poor approximation of New Order. Somehow, this uninteresting and patronisingly try-hard group seem likely to go places. We all walked out about a minute in, to grab some funk in the room next door.

Get yourself to Run Toto Run’s MySpace, catch them at a decent venue, and at all costs, avoid Mirrors.

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One thought on “Run Toto Run + Mirrors – Proud Camden (31/07/2010)

  1. I believe the problem with Margot and Richie was with the sound desk – the engineer screwed up and the monitors weren’t playing the correct samples.

    As you say, it’s a shame, because it’s a terrific song, with neat lyrics leading to an explosive outro which, for this ‘superfan’ at least, constitutes my favoutire moment in the Run Toto Run story so far.

    It’s also worth mentioning that this gig saw a new innovation for the band, in that sections of the rhythm, er, section, were peformed using – sorry – sections of a real drum kit, along with electronic drum pads and some sample beats too. It gave a rhythmic density that was really palpable, as well as creating a much-needed spectacle. That’s one of RTR’s best attributes -they’re conscious of making sure their gigs are a spectacle, no mean feat when dealing with mainly electronic music.

    Overall it was a great gig but as you say, marred by the room’s acoustics and shabby sound engineering. The band are playing Kings Cross Social Club on Friday 27th August, and I’ll be there, sycophantic and in-awe as ever. I’ve never been a ‘superfan’ before – I’m not normally the type, far too egotistical and skittish – but I simply cannot get enough of this band.

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