I don’t like jazz. I know, I an horrible person, but I just find it irritating. But I love the brainy experimentation of Cluster and the perfectly calculated though immense energy of Tortoise. That’s why I found it weird to see two of my favourite “alternative” bands headlining the London Jazz Festival that took place in different venues scattered around the city, the Southbank Centre among them. Still, it made sense, and after this concert I won’t underestimate the infinite possibilities of jazz anymore. The gig open with Cluster, legendary pioneers of krautrock and experimental music that despite their age, did an excellent set, creating a magic aura by making beautiful noises, glitches, bleeps with synths and drum machines. Under that harmless grandpas' aspect, they do still know how to rule. Their set ended with Tortoise joining them on stage for a one-of-a-kind cosmic performance. Same happened after the interval, before the actual set by Tortoise, the two bands walked the stage together again for something unique again, but different again, where the drums were used to make scratches and the synths to add texture to the execution . Tortoise have always been an amazing band. It’s not easy to make sense with two drum kits and two glockenspiels playing at the same time, but they do. From tropical and krautrock to minimal and even metal, they're influenced by and have influenced some of the most experimental music movements of the past decades. Their eclectic 1-and-a-half hour set has been a satisfactory mix of old material such as the excellent Standards and It’s All Around You to the recently released Beacons Of Ancestorship . Possessed by the rhythm, these 5 big boys from Chicago have set the audience on fire. Hypnotized by the groove and the beats no one in the hall could keep their head and feet still. In such a suggestive atmosphere it was a shame to see a few people leaving before the encore. I remember listening to them in my bedroom in my post-rock post-teens while studying for uni. And this gig have confirmed the greatness of this band, a perfect sound and combination of harmonies. So perfect that maybe it would have been the same listening to them from my computer while reading of post-modernism nowadays in my bed (that is more comfy than the chairs at the Southbank Centre). And maybe tonight I could have gone to Dead Kids single launch party, a small gig in a dirty pub in Dalston. I would have gone down and dirty, jumped around, had a great time listening to some other kind of good music and assisting to a surely great show, most likely totally drunk. But maybe I would have regretted it the next day. That's the thing: there's no regret with Tortoise. P.S: The Southbank Centre strict policy doesn’t allow any unauthorized photos or filming. Still, before the big security guy reminded me this, I managed to take a few pictures of the intro of Tortoise set with Cluster on stage. Here they are. Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket