Tranqua Lite picked the, let’s call it intimate, Oporto as the homecoming final date on their tour. Given the fact that it was close to selling out on the day of the gig, it promised to be a hot one. It was. Chatting to Toby – Tranqua Lite’s bass player – before the gig he told me that the band are planning on taking some time out from playing live to write. So this was to be their last gig, apart from the occasional one, for some time. End of tour, homecoming and the last gig for some time, you’d expect fireworks, we got them.
There are times when you just sit there amazed and mesmerised by an artist, I had that experience with Dilettante. Performing solo – she also has a band – Francesca uses loops to weave together something that is sometimes jazzy and sometimes, I’d guess you’d call it, alt-pop. I’d been ‘warned’ that she would be using a saxophone as well as guitar, I hadn’t been told she would also be using clarinet. This makes what she does unique, at least I’ve never seen or heard anything like it.
I have to admit that my appetite for artists that use loops is somewhat jaded but Francesca uses them in inventive and, at times, mind-boggling ways – I tried at one point to actually work out how she was doing it but couldn’t. The way she uses her voice to create music is to be honest incredible. And what a voice she has. It’s ‘can’t take your ears off her’ fantastic. That combined with the waterfall of sounds makes for something that is sit and watch and listen in amazement.
She was battling through illness that night and she was brilliant. What she’d be like when she was feeling better I can only imagine. What she does is quietly beautiful. Go she her play, either solo or with her band.
Caro are one of those ‘I’ve heard of them but never seen them’ bands. So it’s very much a first impression time for this review. They play what is a kind of indie/alternative rock. So far much of a muchness. What marks Caro out as a band you should see is that they have these lovely hints of what I can only describe as jazziness. And their songs don’t do what you quite expect them to do, they take off in unexpected directions. Add to this some quite wonderful guitar playing, and you have something that is special.
Not only that but Caro put on a show, there was banter, there was audience participation (and this included rehearsing that, a quite fantastic thing). They have a variety of feels to their songs, it’s not all one sound or one feel which is great. Caro are a band I want to see again.
And now to Tranqua Lite. By the time they came on The Oporto was packed. The buzz in the crowd was at fever pitch. And when they started to play it was amazing. From the get-go the band played a blinder.
Somehow the band that I first saw at Santiago ages ago have turned into one mean indie-dance machine. They are so damn fucking funky people. Percussion and beats feature hugely. It’s can’t keep your body still stuff, and that extends to the band who jut don’t stop moving unless they actually need to be still to play, and even then barely.
The songs are so well put together, the playing is great and the vocals are a joy. And amid all that what can only be described as chaos on The Oporto’s small stage the band throw some complex music at us. Yes it’s funky, yes it’s music to get down to, but it’s complex in the way it’s put together. This is the brilliant thing about Tranqua Lite’s music, you can ‘just’ listen to it and be hugely audibly satisfied, dare you to try to do that though.
If you haven’t checked out Tranqua Lite I urge you to do that as soon as possible. Do try and see them live, although you might have to wait for a while, they’re a joy live.
All photos on this page © Frank Roper Photography