Review: Submotion Orchestra

Filing the room with a live fusion of dub, bass-driven grooves, ambient electronica, jazz and complex rhythms; Submotion Orchestra immerse the crowd with their unique and powerful sound.  The stage is spread with a keyboard, trumpet, guitars and drums, encircling singer Ruby Wood, whose soft, soulful voice flows effortlessly over the dense textures and deep bass.

Playing songs from their debut album ‘Finest Hour’, released earlier this year in May (Exceptional Records), the set moves between slow, ambient and spacey to more upbeat, rhythmical grooves that have the crowd (a mix of students and locals) constantly moving.  Instrumental sections in between songs allows the audience to focus on the players who are all extremely talented with stunning performances given in particular by drummer Tommy Evans and trumpet player, Simon Beddoe.

Originating as a live dub-project in Leeds in 2009, Submotion’s music is a unique blend of contemporary jazz and soul rooted in the deep bass, ‘somewhere between Cinematic Orchestra and dub’, Gilles Peterson.  Performing their set completely live, Submotion skillfully tred a fine line between acoustic and electronic music, which has attracted a wide audience.  Their album caused a big stir upon release, as has a busy festival season, including performances at Big Chill, Outlook and Soundwave, meaning Submotion have been enjoying strong ticket sales on their present UK tour.

The night’s highlights include ‘Always’, their latest single, with its bouncy bass-line and punchy rhythms uplifting the crowd as well as ‘All Night’, which drew the loudest applause.  The last song ‘Finest Hour’ left the crowd crying for more, to which the band responded with a rendition of their latest song ‘Blind Spot’, which will feature on their new album planned for next year.  The group’s music is sublime but their strength is in their live performance and is well-worth going to see.  The UK tour ends in London on the 31st for anyone who missed out.

4/5

Rebecca Chapman