Submotion Orchestra live at Koko, London | Review

Submotion Orchestra have steadily been building themselves a buzz since the release of last years Finest Hour album won themselves a loyal following with their distinctive blend of Jazz, Trip-hop, Electro and Dubstep. On October 12, the three quarters full converted theatre of KoKo played host to the 7-piece group as they performed tracks from their two weeks old second LP, Fragments, as well as older favorites.

Before entering the stage, pounding progressive dubstep spun by Submotion member RuckSpin filled the cavernous yet intimate surroundings as people gradually filtered in for relatively early Friday night set. Once the band picked up their respective instruments and vocalist Ruby Wood takes centre stage, they launched into a set brimming with impressive musicianship and tight heavy grooves.

Select album tracks as well as crowd favorites, such as the sing-along anthem “All Yours” and the catchy electro funk of “It’s Not Me, It’s You,” all got a welcome airing. Whilst all tracks were performed competently and their fusion of genre’s tick all the right boxes, at times the sound was overly polished – especially with the over reliance on delay and reverb effects that echo a little too freely around the venue – making their live performance too similar to their studio recordings.

This aspect coupled with the bands lack of onstage charisma, equal a disconnection with their audience, which at times made the gig feel like a collection of studio musicians rehearsing in front of a crowd – these however are the only quibbles of the night; as for over an hour the band’s performance was near flawless, with Wood’s sultry vocals gliding effortlessly over the potent well-seasoned sonic brew the group have on tap.

Ultimately their strong material and inventive sound – as well as the band’s ability to create and sustain huge head nod, dance friendly grooves as witnessed on two dope hypnotic jams – will ensure they continue to gain new fans and influence tastemakers for the forseeable future.