Harvest Sun and Bam! Bam! Bam! truly spoilt us this time, bringing back the much anticipated David Grellier to Liverpool, following an unavoidable no-show last year. Grellier vowed a return, and did so with a vengeance. Founder, composer and producer of the electronic project College, Grellier descended on, albeit it a slightly drizzly, Friday night at the Leaf. Known for its vast array of teas, Leaf on Bold Street heralds a (not so) well-kept secret – the room upstairs. It was in this Hogwarts-style venue, where millions of fairy lights and tiny disco balls levitate from the ceiling, where Grellier could truly get to work on his magic – unleashing well-produced French electronica.
Local-lad and electronic aficionado Kalax kicked off the synth proceedings, bringing a voluptuous soundtrack of 80’s synths and mythical time-travelling narrative along with it. A key player in the synthwave scene, Kalax released a cacophony of eerie thunders amidst dreamlike electronics, proving himself to be one of Liverpool’s enigmatic treasures. The scene was set, the lights dimmed and a night of electro indulgence had been well and truly established.
College captured the stage with a swagger only a Frenchman can – cool, calm and collected. Showcasing his newest work from Heritage alongside an impressive visual display of animation, city-scape graphics and old MTV clips from the 80’s. More than just a minimalist electronic set, College gave us an experience, a collective feeling of ripping up the conventional mainstream rulebook and embracing a new landscape in music. The night re-captured a spirit that only some of us older lot remember and experienced first-hand with rave in the 90’s – a performance set in that specific time and space.
Admittedly more suited for a festival venue, the smaller plot was still embraced by the many techno-heads who had eagerly come out of the shadows for College, and with good reason. Grellier with ease mixed from one nostalgic 80’s electropop track to more sci-fi reverberating beats, all behind a Mac – highlighting what can be created in this new digital age. Of course, chart-topping track from the film Drive, ‘’A Real Hero,’’ proved a highlight for the night, but the more mystical, battalion set beats of ‘’Frontiere’’ and videogame-inspired ‘’Alter Ego’’ with its light-hearted synths were great additions to a night of intense and thematic retro-synth grandeur.
When you’re worrying about that next University deadline, how much funds are left in your bank until your next loan comes in, and whether he will ever text you back, take some time out to get lost in another world of mystical French electronica, and when College is next in town, do not miss out.
Words: Katie Tysoe