Grimm Grimm @ ATP Pop-Up Venue, Farleigh Place, Stoke Newington 24/4/15

Support From Younghusband and Eaux

It’s becoming quite alarming how today’s Instagram-absorbed, selfie-stick-wielding generation seem more concerned about location-tagging their social lives to impress strangers on the Internet, than they are with actually enjoying the surroundings that they happen to frequent. Call me old fashioned, but when I’ve travelled the hour-long-average journey it takes to get to anywhere in London to participate in some sort of social shenanigans… chances are I’m actually going to do just that.

Which is more than can be said for the crowd of Tokyo-native/London-based solo artist Grimm Grimm at All Tomorrow’s Parties’ pop-up venue. Located in Farleigh Place, and formerly the ground floor of the Total Refreshment Centre, the setting itself was a Dalston hipster’s paradise; fairy lights were strewn nonchalantly on the bare brick walls in a ‘we’re too cool to bother with the big light’ kind of way that gives an alluring look to even the lesser-fortunate faces of the room. This combined with the low-key, Citymapper-deceiving location lost in a back street somewhere between Dalston and the edge of the world, and you’ve scored the ideal set-up for tonight’s mellow line-up.

Celebrating the launch of Grimm Grimm’s (real name Koichi Yamanoha) single ‘Hazy Eyes Maybe’ – and paving the way for the impending debut release of the same name on 29th June – the recent signee to ATP Recordings was to be joined by an eclectic mix of guests, including support by the likes of Younghusband and Eaux.

After arriving slightly later than expected and unfortunately missing fellow ATP brothers Eaux’s set, I managed to catch the last few songs of Younghusband by elbowing my way through the intimate yet deceivingly-large crowd to catch a glimpse of the band’s performance. At first, I thought it was just my distanced location in the low-ceilinged room that made the airy fuzz of the band drift out of my sonic grips, but as I neared the stage I realised it was the sheer noise of those stood around me (plus the poor quality of the sound in general) that made the music such a struggle to enjoy. As the band finished with a jaunty salute to the unappreciating crowd, I assumed the background buzz would die out as the guy we were all supposedly there to see graced the stage.

Famous last words.

For anyone that’s unfamiliar with Grimm Grimm’s unique fusion of cosmic pop and ethereal melodies, it’s pretty safe to go ahead and assume it’s not the loudest of music – it’s best enjoyed at a chilled-out volume. With this in mind, as the softly spoken Koichi took to the stage and launched into melancholic harmony ‘Tell the Truth’, the room seemed to be become even more drowned in sound as fifty or so drunken scenesters all fought to be heard over one another in the audience.

Soldiering on through the next few songs, as Koichi launches into ‘Hazy Eyes Maybe’ it becomes apparent that the lack of support from the swarm before him might be having an affect, as he timidly apologises to an undeserving crowd and restarts the intro. Thankfully at this point, an angel in disguise bellows from the crowd that ‘EVERYONE SHOULD JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP AND APPRECIATE THE MUSIC’, and this silences the majority of voices in the room as they decide that, yes, actually, maybe continuing this enthralling conversation outside would perhaps be the best idea.

With the ignorance wafted from the room like a bad smell, Koichi is free to continue his set with noticeably more oomph, and as he launches into atmospheric melody ‘Kazega Fuitara Sayounara’, appreciative cheers are riled from the front of the crowd as everyone visibly relaxes into the music. See Koichi, we’re not all just here for the internet likes.

As seems to be tradition with Grimm Grimm’s otherworldly soundscape, his performances frequently feature collaborations with a range of both established and unknown artists. Just as the set seems to be coming to an end, lulling everyone into a false sense of zen where they seem about ready to curl up on the floor in the foetal position, Japanese acid punks Bo Ningen materialise out of nowhere and slice the chilled atmosphere with a punchy ballad that silences any loudmouth in the crowd who dares breathe too loud. That’ll teach ‘em.

As the boys finish up and exit stage right, humble Koichi smiles and waves out to the faces before him before bowing and thanking everyone profusely, and then receives what appears to be a bottle of champagne from the event organisers while onlookers cheer – at least someone’s giving the poor guy the recognition he deserves!

Although Grimm Grimm’s set was sadly slightly overshadowed by the sound of locals discussing their weekend plans, the overall performance was a joy to witness and it’s clear Koichi has a distinctive talent that will (hopefully) be fully appreciated when his debut drops next month. Let’s just hope his ‘fans’ can keep their mouths closed long enough to hear it.

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