Live review: Gonjasufi
Before we were even through the doors of Village Underground, it was clear that the night’s performance we were about to witness was going to be an unpredictable one. Gonjasufi’s sound check had run on longer than expected, meaning he was due to start at one-thirty am rather than the original time of eleven pm. A snake like queue had wrapped itself around the side of the building and was growing as much in anticipation as it was in length and the last person rattled their way in just before one. The air of unpredictability continued inside after local DJ Blue Daisy had done his best to warm the sullen figures that had waited so patiently…
Being drawn into Gonjasufi’s set from the beginning was unavoidable. To our surprise his manager was the first on stage along with the two backing DJ’s and without hesitation prepared everybody for what was ahead. The sheer spirit and enthusiasm we got from him was immediately entrancing for he danced on stage as if nobody was watching. This guy was no manager in the traditional sense of things. Appealing to those who like to watch from afar, it was apparent that the whole audience were rapt, even those who like to take a more physical approach. It was refreshing to witness someone so sporadic, natural and instinctive about the way they physically interpret music. His dancing at points resembled an apocalyptic shaman infused with the archaic souls of his tribal predecessors, which possessed him to, almost effortlessly move to in-sync with the beat and earned the respect of the crowd. It was obvious that this gig was going to be nothing but an honest and enthralling performance.
Gonjasufi then appeared, framed by dreads and totally in tune with his surroundings. Each of the DJ’s seemed to be just as in tune with each other as they were with their equipment, despite the unpredictable nature of Gonjasufi would mean continuing without the front man at various points throughout the set. This was while he sat at the back of the stage to give himself a little time to revitalise his energetic being. It felt like we as an audience, were discovering and exploring with them rather than the experience being dictated or fed to us by Gonjasufi. This feeling of freedom continued throughout the gig, as a stream of disjointed songs were blasted out in what seemed to be a result of impulse rather than a set playlist.
The lack of structure to the gig meant that a raw energy was constantly present. The compelling nature of not quite knowing what was going to happen next kept us on the brink. Songs were interrupted with “hold up, hold up, hold up”, as Gonjasufi addressed the rest of his musical companions to halt, followed by, “you wanna [sic] hear some good shit? You wanna [sic] hear some good shit?!” due to a sudden urge to play a different song. Strangely enough the rest of the group never seemed fazed by this; clearly used to his erratic nature. However irregular and unconventional the performance, the intrinsic nature of Gonjasufi prevailed throughout.
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