3rd March | Trinity
Photos: Hannah Rooke
In true Bristol style, a little bit of snow and ice wasn’t going to be enough to put off the hundreds of loyal followers that braved the cold to see Submotion Orchestra’s opening night of their tour at the Trinity Centre. “We weren’t going to let the Beast from the East stop us,” beamed Ruby Wood as she joined fellow bandmates on stage, following their completely immersive instrumental opener, ‘Bridge’ from their forthcoming album, Kites.
Whilst ‘Bridge’ laid solid foundations for the night, it was tracks like ‘Prism’, ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Kites’ where you could really start to see why Submotion’s sound especially appealed to the Bristol crowd. Known for its thriving dubstep scene, the rumbling bass that intermittently disappeared to clear, crisp vocals resonates with the darker side of the half time genre and yet still has complete musicality to it.
For me, the sign of a good band is being able to bring light and dark; you want those moments to stand and reflect, but you need those moments to dance and forget, which is exactly what ‘Thinking’ and ‘Chrome Units’ brought. Suddenly the crowd transformed into a wave of motion, as Submotion’s more upbeat numbers layered funky synths, snare hits and brash trumpet, giving the band a chance to show off their skills. Somehow, Submotion Orchestra manage to flawlessly combine soulful vocals, brassy jazz riffs and drums so associated with dance music, but what really stands out for me is their ability to switch between such different styles and execute them all.
‘Blind Spot’ and ‘In Gold’ brought the mood back down to a more sultry level and as good as Submotion are at the upbeat stuff, this really is what they do best; since the night started with new material, it was only fitting it approached its ending on something old with the aptly named, “Finest Hour”. It had indeed been a fine few hours and as the set drew to a close you could sense satisfaction
Of course, the night wouldn’t be complete without Submotion’s classic, ‘All Yours,’ when those two unmistakable chords cut through the applause, sending a wave of electricity through the crowd. Everyone’s attention turned to the evocative first lyrics, “could it be you, calling me down,” As Ruby Wood took to the mic one last time, I don’t think I was the only one with shivers.
Whether Submotion Orchestra are treating their crowd to previously unheard tracks or delving deeper and experimenting more with genres and techniques, or taking a trip down memory lane with timeless classics, it’s true to say they had fans eating out the palm of their hand. The lovable Ruby Wood looked so at home on the stage, she hugged the crowd with her warmth as she thanked everyone for coming out and for singing ‘All Yours’ the best she’s ever heard. For a first night of a tour, you couldn’t have really hoped for more. How can they continue to go up from here?