London-based cover band, Introducing Live, laugh in the face of the impossible — the group perform the albums that others won’t, they play the unplayable. What’s even more impressive is they do this without the help of any laptops, sequencers, or robots.
The group’s first project was DJ Shadow’s legendary album ‘Endtroducing’, a sample-based album that required the group to reverse engineer all of Shadow’s samples to properly recreate the album for a live setting.
Since then, they've moved onto Daft Punk ‘Discovery’ after they felt the Shadow shows drew, “a more beard-scratching crowd that didn’t really dance”. The band admits to DJ Mag that their Daft Punk project took years of homework to try and work out the complexities of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De-Homem Christro’s work before they were sure they could perform ‘Discovery’ in full for tonight’s show at Birmingham’s Hare & Hounds courtesy of Celestial Recordings.
The group is the brainchild of Matt Derbyshire, who by day works at Novation, but by night plays guitar and keyboards. He admits that tonight’s performance is likely to be one of the last Daft Punk performances before the group move onto a new challenge, what that might be he remains cagey, “We’re not quite ready to announced what we’ll be doing next”, but considering the complexity of the undertaking, it’s going to take months if not longer of behind the scenes tinkering to work out what their next move is.
The group kicks off tonight’s show with Daft Punk’s raucous ‘Robot Rock’, and immediately the packed crowd is clearly taken aback with quite how accurate their portrayal is; the synths sound as if they were lifted directly from Bangalter’s laptop.
And even more impressive is Mike Reed’s contribution on drums, giving all the tracks a much-needed thudding backbone. The group rattles through a veritable smorgasbord of Daft Punk classics including ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger,’ which is performed on top of ‘Around The World’ for a nod to the Alive 2007 version.
There are moments of melancholia in their performance too, with ‘Something About Us’ and ‘Digital Love’. One of the highlights comes when Ollie Grig, who handles the majority of vocoder vocals, is faced with the herculean task of rapping the entire ‘Technologic’ vocal in one breathe, “Please excuse me if pass out doing this”, as he raps the entire vocal word-for-word with the help of his iPhone.
Rather than playing one track for the group’s encore, tonight’s crowd is given a special send off, a live recreation of the Introducing Live's now famous Maida Vale Radio 1 mini-mix, where the group played more than 30 Daft Punk tracks back-to-back in less than five minutes.
It’s the group’s “look at me” party piece, 6 musicians at the top of their game showing off their spellbinding skills as they segue into tracks from Daft Punk’s last album ‘Random Access Memories’ for the final crescendo. Before finishing off with Random Access Memories’ final cut ‘Contact’, which sees Mike Reed recreating the track’s epic drum wig-outs drum-for-drum.
You can catch Introducing Live performing Daft Punk’s Discovery at London’s Jazz Café on 8th August. Tickets here.
Words by Andrew Rafter.