SBTRKT at Lollapalooza 2012 | Photos and music review
A mass of kids bobbed and swayed to SBTRKT's cerebal grooves as they spilled out of subwoofers. The masked beatmaker was doing double duty, bashing drums when he wasn't triggering electronics. That he was playing on the relatively intimate Goggle stage rather then the massive Perry's forum could speak to the Brit beatmaker's growing appeal. "How many people watched the Olympics?" asked the man otherwise known as Aaron Jerome, to roaring applause not too long into the set, shouting out Michael Phelps's latest record-breaking feat as he took a breather. Soon Jerome was back behind the kit, hammering down upon it as mile-wide swaths of electronic sound washed over the crowd, abetted by singer Sampha, also masked, who worked synth when not flailing his arms, losing himself to the throb. The vocalist acts as the face of the band, his warm, soulful pipes sucking us in as SBTRKT works overtime to anchor the whole thing. Luminescent tones wrapped around traces of trance in the Londoners' spell-inducing amalgam, occasionally threading in relatively exotic strains from other corners of the globe. Sampha's agogo bells bounced against a four-on-the-floor thump as echoes of his honey-sweet voice rippled over. It was more than enough to win over this rabid throng. By the time the two reached "Something Goes Right," the crowd was whipped into a frenzy. Thick, throbbing synthetic tones crashed down like tidal waves in slow motion, resembling something like dubstep but headier and more organic in execution. Who needs a remix when something so fascinating and pulverizing can be executed on the spot?