In a relatively well-known Facebook rant, spoken word and hip-hop artist Scroobius Pip let all know of his exasperation at the lack of ticket sales in Liverpool, despite his having received complaints when the city was left off of his previous tour. Noting how sales in the likes of Preston fare much better than in our own fine city, it posed a problem which for the large part escapes any definitive answer. Comments sensibly highlighted issues such as the current economic situation, though old Pip was equally right to redirect attention towards good sales in the likes of Manchester, Leeds and, again, Preston. When the likes of Popworld and the Razz get packed to the rafters with regular punters week in week out, the question is certainly begged, and unfortunately answered, as to what the issue is, and to what the people really want.
So as Brainfeeder’s Tokimonsta made her way, having come straight from the airport and apparently having nothing other than an orange juice to prep her show, the sight of no more than 25 pairs of eyes waiting expectantly must have felt like a swift kick in the gut. Featured at number 5 in The Skinny’s picks of the week, the anticipation for the evening should have carried more weight than it ultimately did. Tonight’s pre-amble is in the form of Inkarta DJ’s, Wywh and the particularly impressive Sertone, providing a soundscape worth far more than the 20 plus gathered in the Blade Factory. Those assembled are clearly intrigued and engaged; it’s the empty spaces which inspire a sense of embarrassment.
As she strolls on to the decks, we huddle forward like a Roman turtle, grouping partly due to the appearance of our host, partly to try and prevent the void becoming too apparent. Thankfully, Tokimonsta doesn’t seem to notice. Her head bobbing like a Churchill dog, she rarely allows her gaze to drift above the decks in front of her, immersed as the gradual formation of her esteemed soundscapes began to take shape. As her set continues, the room slowly becomes smaller, the inhabitants bigger, and as a cohort, we become more engrossed, and subsequently less aware of our number.
This is perhaps aided by the style with which Tokimonsta performs. She isn’t a throbbing techno-head; she creates soundscapes, possibly influenced by her classical background, with her perhaps best, and certainly most widely-known, record being ‘The World Is Ours’. Her approach means that it isn’t necessary to have a couple of hundred sweaty individuals losing their minds, but the total engagement of a more select few is able to create a similar sense of euphoria, even if the lack of number’s does blunt it somewhat.
Numbers never tell a whole story, and thankfully that can certainly be said of this evening’s set. Liverpool should be feeling a deep sense of regret that not only was our wonderful city so poorly represented, but that so many missed out on an evening rife with innovation and professionalism. There could be few complaints if Tokimonsta decides to steer clear of Liverpool come her next UK visit, a result which would be a decisive loss for the Liverpool scene. A warning, but one certainly warranted when an artist of vision and intrigue passes by almost unnoticed. And that, as emphasised by tonight’s showing, Tokimonsta certainly is.