I fall in love with strangers. A lot. Whether it’s temporarily falling for someone on the tube or more permanently with a celebrity who has no knowledge I even exist. I know what you’re thinking; ‘what has this got to do with anything Amy you gig slut?’. Well, last night I fell a little for beatboxer and self-proclaimed “human geekbox” Simon Shlomo Kahn a.k.a Shlomo at his Royal Albert Hall leg of the tour. Here’s 5 reasons you’ll be a little smitten too, thinly disguised as a live review.
1. His undeniable talent.
It really wouldn’t be right for me to place anything else first. Shlomo is certainly a master of his instruments (a loop station we’re obliged to welcome and, of course, his own voicebox). The jaws of those sat around cabaret-style tables in the Elgar Room are headed for the floor as Shlomo replicates the individual parts of a drum kit one by one – high hat, snare, synth, kick drum – before bringing them together simultaneously. How? I really don’t know, but it’s no real shock to hear the 30 year old recount he first remembers doing this aged 8.
2. He goes beyond the beatbox.
Thanks to film adaptations of MC battles and 240p Youtube videos of beatboxers in basement clubs, I – wrongly – expected a guy spitting songs I’d never heard of, all gun fingers in a dimly lit room. Shlomo is so far from that. His set is accessible, marrying stand up, covers, remixes and stories from his life that he humorously recounts. On paper, a man leaping around in a home made space suit for two hours might sound a little off-key but everything is grounded by the humble man behind the mic.
3. He’s endearingly modest.
Through the mad skillz, the years of practice, the awards and the cheer of tonights crowd, there’s a feeling he doesn’t really know his own worth. The trusted loop machine falters, technology screws him over and as a result, parts of his set do go wrong yet the ex-Foreign Beggar laughs, apologises and exercises an amount of self deprecation that means the audience simply don’t mind.
4. He’s in the running for coolest dad…ever.
Amongst tales of Planet Kahnia, failed attempts at a physics degree, heavy drum and bass nights in Leeds are the stories of his son, George that are received with audible ‘awwws’. My mind becomes a bit clouded at this point by how absurdly cool that is. Playground talk take on a new life. “My dads a banker” “Well my dads a BEATBOXER”.
5. He’s a nice guy.
And just when you think he can’t get any better, Shlomo introduces Newton Faulkner for a “play date” (the guest changes each night of the tour) to perform a co-written song to be released with all proceeds going to the War Child charity. The song, named ‘Home’, was written mere hours ago (and still rivals most of the top 40) and sees Newton’s hands travelling at unimaginable speeds across the fret of his guitar. The two together really are powerhouse of creativity.
I’ve almost exhausted my persuasive powers but let me assure you that this isn’t even half of his set. Head to his website for information on his tour dates: http://www.shlo.co.uk/2013/07/humangeekbox-new-show-new-uk-tour-new-charity-collab-in-each-town/