Scala has been in Kings Cross for a long time before the zone became a hub of international traffic, but it still wears its badge of honour from the area’s less than salubrious past. Despite all the so-called regeneration it hasn’t become the hipster hive that Shoreditch is, which is somehow reassuring, and seems about as likely to happen as Streatham is of becoming as trendy as neighbouring Balham. With that in mind, it is almost reassuring to go to a gig in the area where there is still a remnant of danger.
We first caught Breton back in June at Cargo, in the aforementioned Shoreditch, and their set, with its mixture of guitar and synth music, and self-made film projections, left a good impression. It also helped they had a great support act in Cloud Boat to set the mood. Unfortunately, tonight’s warm-up left us feeling cold, and in part the blame lies with Apple’s amazing products. Just as with the advent of ‘desktop publishing’, when everyone thought they were now graphic designers, GarageBand does not make you a musician. To be a musician there are two basic prerequisites; a sense of rhythm and a sense of melody, or at the very least a sense of rhythm. The bearded young man, armed with a MacBook and an iPad, had neither. Randomly stringing together disparate beats and synth loops, while waving your arms about, did not create a pleasant aural experience. It’s just not music. At least DJs are mostly using recorded music as a starting point.
Thank goodness Breton brought some real musicianship, as well as filmic artistry, to the stage. This was the final stop on a long tour of North America and Europe (the band announced they were glad to be home and they will be taking some time off to write some new material) and it did feel like they were road weary and lacking the energy they had when we saw them in the summer. Thankfully the energy levels were bolstered by the enthusiastic audience, who were clearly fans. Hopefully the coming time off will revitalise their creative juices, and they will bring some new tunes and fresh cinematic delights when they start gigging again.