Fatima Yamaha (Live) at The Small Horse Social Club, Bristol
Gigs like Fatima Yamaha’s performance at the Small Horse Social Club in Bristol do not come around very often. The fact it was at such a small venue was the first surprising aspect; only the previous night, the Dutch producer had played to a sold out crowd of around 1000 people at London’s Oval Space. Here he was, on a Friday night, playing to what couldn’t have been many more than 200 people in what is effectively a pub. Of course this is no criticism. The excitement was palpable in a small room of many hardened fans who had snapped up the £7 tickets that had evaporated months before the show.
The Bristol leg of the Imaginary Lines tour kicked off at exactly nine, as Bas Bron (aka Fatima Yamaha) inconspicuously emerged from the side of the venue and waved sheepishly at the crowd, grinning. Chants of ‘Fatima’ were universal as he edged behind a table covered in an assortment of keyboards, synthesisers, drum machines and the like that had been erected for this live set.
It took just 15 minutes for the crowd to reach fever pitch when Bron seamlessly dropped ‘Love Invaders’, arguably the standout tune from this latest album. His mastery of the overwhelming amount of kit and the superior sound it seemed to produce, each snare crisper, each beat punchier, had the audience in awe. Every sip of beer the DJ took was met with manic cheering and applause, something that would probably not have happened at other European shows and only added to the flavour of the gig. The lack of words in ‘Borderless II’ didn’t stop the crowd from singing along to the melody, reminiscent of a football match and equally beer-y, as the set moved from song to song without error; and Bron appeared to be getting more and more into it. Furious head banging greeted ‘Between Worlds’ and an extended attack on the keyboard accompanied ‘Half Moon Rising’.
But to say Fatima Yamaha’s enduring success and recent revival hasn’t been largely down to one song would be a mistruth. And, when ‘What’s A Girl To Do’ came in a quarter of an hour before the end of the set, complete with extended live intro, and finished with a keyboard solo, the planets aligned and the room lost it. Punters were released from their stupor when Bron seemed to vanish, only to reappear and play his new song ‘Araya’, yet to be released, to wet the collective appetite for upcoming music. The set finished, there were some brief hellos before the Dutchman exited through a back door and into the night.
Venue – 10.0
DJ/Band – 10.0
Music – 10.0
Overall – 30.0
(Yamaha performing live at BBC Radio 1)