Gigs Reviews

Review: Bahasa Malay, Natalie Mae & AJ Wigwams @ The Bird

Words By: Jack Smith


Making the best of an under-attended event, AJ Wigwams was the first of three to play at The Bird last Thursday. The lack of people was more than made up for by the improvement in acoustics, which reverberated his falsetto’ish’ voice around the room. Through the medium of folksy, story-teller music AJ Wigwams provided social commentary on everything from Stephen King to the daily struggle between striving for heaven and avoiding hell (‘Gates of Pearl’ is a brilliant track). A little melancholy at times but always euphonic and harmonious, AJ Wigwams put on a unique and criminally under-appreciated set.

Rapper, laptop-DJ and soul singer Natalie Mae were next to play. They began their set with some traditional, mid-tempo RnB which then transitioned to Jazz-Hip-Hop fusion. When he wasn’t busy on decks, the DJ would drop a verse here and there. This perfectly complimented Natalie Mae who demonstrated an ability to sing like a soprano and then spit bars herself, which was a little unexpected but very much welcome. Overall the performance was quite unchoreographed, the set list wasn’t set and there were a few ‘working titles’ and working progresses, but the talent of both performers shone through to produce a great show.

Ending the night with a bit of experimental, orient-inspired, electronic groove-music, Bahasa Malay as suggested by her name began with a bilingual track from another realm. Most of the songs made use of sound samples ranging from mandolins, to the Millennium Falcon’s power-up sequence, to creaky doors being knocked on by a herd of woodpeckers on crack, which doesn’t particularly sound appealing, but it just worked. With the air of snake charmer, Bahasa Malay had a very relaxed and relaxing stage presence which helped put everyone at ease and almost to sleep, a fact not lost on the performer. If you’re into avant-garde audio-experimentation Bahasa Malay will provide the weird and wild goods, all while being constantly surrounded by a shroud of smoke.