The Israeli musician Noga Erez announced her force of nature credentials earlier this month with the release of her spectacular, game-changing debut album, ‘Off The Radar’, an immaculately produced, ambitious disc that anatomised our frantic, chaotic times through the prism of glitchy, booming and incendiary electro-synth-pop.
On the evidence of last night’s intimate show at Bethnal Green’s state-of-the-art nightspot, The Pickle Factory, Erez could soon graduate from taste-makers’ favourite to full-blown industry phenomenon, for her sixty–five minute set showcased a coolly self-assured immersion in brassy, layered song-craft, vampiric sub-bass tones and digitally enhanced rhythms. She bounded on stage to massive cheers, flanked by the gadget-prodding and sample scavenging of producer/musical partner-in-crime Ori Rousso and percussionist Ran Jacobovitz, and set about whipping the room into a frenzy.
Neither of them outshone the singer, a hungry and exuberant presence whose sultry swagger, glassy vocals and relentless energy achieved the right balance between pop appeal and art-hipster cool. The sweaty crowd roared in appreciation of each track; there was a palpable sense of this being less of a concert, more of a party to announce the coming of age of a fearless, renegade artist proffering escapism and food for thought in equal measure.
Highlights arrived in the form of a laser-strobed, dread-laden rendition of ‘Toy’ and a rumbling, whirring ‘Hit U’, two album bangers enveloped by a thrilling eeriness, a tonic for the weary soul. Hers is a sound that’s audibly inspired by 90’s trip-hop as well as a slew of modish musical talents including Frank Ocean, FKA Twigs, M.I.A. and Flying Lotus, whilst straddling styles and teasing out an idiosyncratic timbre all of her own. The show represented a rousing alignment of sound with lyric; the cerebral, poetic thrust of the words (“I wear a crown with my head down/Long, heavy gown hides my bent spine”) and the dynamic, visceral qualities of the suffocating, unhurried trap-style beats and cacophonous, reverberating synth effects.
There was a slight lull towards the middle of the set, perhaps an inevitable by-product of the album’s consistency of mood. Eschewing the tedium of the encore ritual by departing the stage after her government-baiting breakout hit, ‘Dance While You Shoot’, Erez left the assembled throng gasping for more; if anyone was yet to be convinced at the start, they most certainly were under her spell by its conclusion.