Gogo Penguin At The Royal Albert Hall

by Hugo Beynon

27th December, 2018

The Manchurian trio Gogo Penguin gave an incredible performance at what must have been their biggest show to date at the Royal Albert Hall.

The group has gained plenty of attention from critics with their unique take on jazz, influenced by elements in minimalism, electronica and modern classical giving them a new edge within modern jazz. The combination of minimalist piano with busy drums and bass lines give an unparalleled listen and the interaction between all three is a joy to watch and listen to. Space is filled or left open appropriately and nothing ever sounds overdone despite the business of some tracks.

Nick Blacka creates an amazing sound from his double bass by what I can only assume are pedals to manipulate the sound. At some points, it sounds like a synth bass and at others like a full string orchestra. Rob Turner on drums is unbelievably quick behind the drums with his hands moving quicker than you can keep up. His more percussive elements were nice too and the bells, and shakers were a nice addition. Chris Illingworth on the piano is not to be forgotten with his graceful notes and delicate melodies. All three come together to create some amazing music.

The set consisted mostly of tracks from their latest album ‘A Humdrum Star’ which has just been released by Blue Note Records. They played a few older tracks too to give a well rounded set balanced between busy and slower tracks.

The band had fantastic sound thanks to the incredible sound system and perfect acoustics for the band to be projected around the venue. The trio stepped it up with the incredible light show with vivid colours and powerful strobes. The lighting was incredible just to watch with the music and the interaction of sound and vision was hypnotic.

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