Things are kicking off very late at Alloneword tonight. It's already scheduled to start a little late, with opening act Sauce listed at 10pm, but by the time that rolls around there's still a band from the previous event playing and the promoters haven't set the entry up yet. When the other band is finally packed up, Sauce drops a very nice set; full of chilled, jazzy, beats and melodies that make for a pleasant way to ease into the evening. He's stuck behind a small desk, to the side of the bar, in a very long, narrow room, so there's no chance for any presence or performance, but the sound quality is impeccable throughout the venue and the music is great.
Due to the earlier delay it's almost midnight by the time the second act, Total Stranger, begins. Contrasting with the other artists tonight, this two-piece plays their music live, with vocals, bass and beats performed and merging with backing tracks. There is again a very jazzy sound to the set, fed through a modern electronic vision; wandering bass-lines squelch and throb, brushed drum samples skitter and lovely clean vocals are layered and loop back. The performance is skilful, almost CD quality (a couple of major missteps aside), and the basic sound is good, but without anything particularly threatening to the music and no significant differences between most songs (which already tend to drag on a little too long), it does begin to blur into largely pleasant background music.
Knxwledge finally takes to the desk at around 1am and is instantly engaging. His mixture of instrumental hip hop and down-tempo electro melds effortlessly and grabs the attention of everyone left in the bar. Starting off with his own tracks, he chops and changes between pieces at a break-neck speed and it's impressive that the frequent transitions are almost always smooth. Some ideas are left behind before they can really develop, but for the most part Knxwledge manages a gradual build in mood and intensity that eventually drags people away from the wall and gets them dancing in the limited space. As the set progresses, he moves away from his original stuff and begins to drop a bunch of other artists' work into the mix. It's more a live remix session than a DJ set though, as Knxwledge continues to swiftly cut between tracks and play with envelops and filters to keep everything feeling fresh. It's a great set, with a strong party vibe, but the time delays and the restrictions of the venue's shape keep it from ever gaining the atmosphere that it deserves.