Tamikrest @ The Borderline (28/06/11)
Tuesday night saw desert-blues rockers Tamikrest enchant a sweltering audience with their mesmeric and undulating melodies. With the recent release of their acclaimed Toumastin, the five-piece walked tentatively onto a silent stage and unravelled a slow and captivating “Aidjan Adaky” where frontman Mossa, dressed in a long robe, introduced his deeply hypnotic Tuareg-drenched vocals. The tempo was relaxed, however, percussionist Ahmed Salim and his dub-style syncopation on the calabash kept a steady momentum.
Due to their Tuareg roots, Tamikrest have and always will be compared to their musical elders, Tinariwen. With their traditional dress, meandering melodies and funky basslines, this is no surprise. However, once the drum-kit kicked into number “Fassous Tarahnet”, Tamikrest became distinctly their own, with crystal clear influences of psychedelic rock, reggae and dub. The Kidal-born-troupe love their guitar riffs, especially Mossa and his overt, yet wondrous use of the Hendrix-style wah-wah pedal.
Through the rich and rousing instrumentals, what seemed to be lacking was some kind of communication with the audience, that by this time, took it to themselves to talk to the band. Maybe it was nerves or mere inexperience at performing in a Western-type setting. However, what Tamikrest lacked in this department, they made up for in plaintive Tamashek chants and guitar grooves. “Adratan N Tinariwen” catapulted the energy of the audience into Tuareg-rock heaven, with its inter-locking clapping, poppy guitar motives and driving bass. What was missing however was the female high-pitched vocals heard on album Toumastin that would have created a contrast to the deeply-resonant tones of the men.
All in all, Tamikrest have a bright and fruitful future ahead of them, but talking and tuning guitars might need some tweaking.
by Amy Cunningham
Tamikrest’s next London date is Saturday 23rd July 2011, 6.15pm, FreeStage