Chibuku have had a traumatic couple of months. The closure of the venue that was its home for so long was met with much bravado and suitable replacement venues were quickly found. The show, it seems, must go on. But the fact remains, that permanently finding a new venue to match the Masque in size and flexibility is no easy feet. Where else in Liverpool can provide three rooms for DJ’s and live electronic acts?
Tonights show marks something different from Chibuku, perhaps a reaction to their current circumstance. The densely packed Hold of the Shipping Forecast is a far cry from the Masque Theatre but it suits Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, aka Oxford’s Orlando Higginbottom, down to the ground. His dark, evolving beats and thick bass lines sound dense in these intimate settings, rumbling in the chests of every soul in the room. It’s a messy, sweaty affair with personal space a forgotten concept as people edge closer together, straining to see T.E.E.D’s exuberant getup. For some people, wearing a tribal head-dress and dinosaur one-sy could seem dangerously gimmicky. In the case of Oxford latest electro export though, Higginbottom’s live getup is compensated for by his pure musicianship. Working his own vocals into more and more of his new material, Orlando glides between a bedazzling array of synths, pads and gadgetry like it’s the easiest thing in the world.
You’d be a fool to under-estimate this artist, not to take him seriously despite his taste is stage attire. Simultaneously though, his various costumes reflect the music T.E.E.D produces. Tracks like Bournemouth, reek of childish fun whilst set highlight Garden is all glitchy goodness and synth blips that are anything but pretentious. There’s not a serious face in the room by the time curfew brings an end to the fun and frivolities suggesting Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs are going to be…well…totally enormous.
As for the future of Chibuku, there can be no danger that the club night will cease to be the force it has become in the last decade. If anything, now could be time for a change in direction, an expansion of operations. More intimate live shows dictate a completely different vibe to the traditional Chibuku madness and more of a connection with the artists on show. So let us hope this is not a temporary venture and that Liverpool’s one and only dance deities expand their repertoire over the coming months to include the more intimate and exclusive.