Pablo Percusso



Reviews of Industria

'Pablo Percusso are more than drummers, they are crash technicians who can roller coast through thumping tribal to calypso rhythm, from thunder to intensely focussed snare caressing in a street gang sonata somewhere between human rhythm and machine like precision. That they manage all of this with garbage bins and medical waste disposal drums is testament to an inspired utilitarian bent. Rather than a grim vision of angst, Pablo Percusso thrive on the clash and clang of the city and exhibit a proletarian joy as they go about bashing their accidental instruments. Industria is a loud and thrilling show'
Brett Buttfield, dB Magazine, Adelaide, Issue #165, March 1998

'Wow, what a delight for the eyes and ears! Industria is a dynamically energetic show and the group interaction between the three members of Pablo Percusso was faultless'
Rip It Up, Adelaide, Issue #461, March 1998

'Pablo Percusso... has always been full of brave new ideas... but they have opened up a whole new technical dimension here. There are lights everywhere, including the bins, and a lively body percussion solo where each slap drives a sampler. When it comes down to laying complex cross-rhythms on standard drums, the Percussos are simply terrific'
Tim Lloyd, Adelaide Advertiser, 23.2.98

'Industria, as much of a visual spectacular as an aural one, made use of a screen flashing up everyday urban images, glow-in-the-dark liquid pipes threaded through the ceiling lights above our heads and the cleverly manipulated light/shadow combination on stage. These teamed together with familiar objects being used in unfamiliar ways caught the active attention of the crowd, who loudly cheered at any and every opportunity.'
Susie Bate, On Dit, Adelaide, 2.3.98

Reviews of Pablo Percusso

'Back in Adelaide for the weekend with a new show, Pablo Percusso confirms its status as the nation's rhythm genius with a short, explosive performance. The show is conceptually complete and satisfying, starting with the prerecorded sounds of crowds, railway stations and trains, and leading into the trio of Pablo Percusso performers working on rhythms drawn mainly from trains. The overplay of prerecorded ambient sounds and live percussion continues right through the show as a flawless call and response. It is backed by clever lighting effects used with considerable restraint. Pablo Percusso has moved more to conventional drums but there are still wheelie-bins and hubcaps and other found objects brought to play. The really electrifying moments are the players' growing manic intensity and perfection as players in the taiko drumming style, with drawn out machine-gun rhythm pieces that are breathtakingly fast and complex. The opening trio, in particular, is a tremendous display of cross rhythms that stands alone as an advertisement that percussion should be taken more seriously as an artform. Using a large stage completely covered in percussion equipment, the players were able to find a wide range of expression while sticking to their formula of up-tempo, high-energy beats'
Tim Lloyd, Adelaide Advertiser, 25/3/97

'It sometimes seems that the more you see the rarer it becomes to see an act which genuinely makes you want to rave profusely; not because you promised your editor you would or you feel obliged to because the band's manager let you in for free, but because you really and truly want to tell as many people as possible how mindfuckingly amazing something was. Pablo Percusso did this for [me]. Pablo Percusso open up the closed form that is percussion by a complete re-presentation of Picasso would take a single object and depict it from a multiplicity of angles, Pablo Percusso take the singular subject of percussion and approach it from a multiplicity of angles. Pablo Percusso are brilliant, dynamic, exciting, innovative, and theatrical, musicians. Do yourself a whopping great big favour. See Pablo Percusso.'
Melanie Sheridan, BMA, October 1995

'Rhythm soared at the Apron Theatre box office for sensational percussion trio, Pablo Percusso - sold out last week well before the doors opened. The grungy drummers appeared at the 1994 Fringe, but this show has progressed beyond belief. With precise timing they travelled between tip-toe creeping among delicately chiming cymbals and frenzied cyclical speed drumming. They turn simultaneous phone calls into rhythmic bursts of comical banter and even bounce infectious beats in a basketball routine which makes the Harlem Globetrotters look jaded. They combine "instruments" like wheelie bins, a fire extinguisher, a drip tray, flower pots, a beer keg, hub caps, three drum kits, a plethora of cymbals and a violin bow... all in a sound technician's nightmare. Even wheezing bike pumps were given rhythm. These guys are hot. Expect standing ovations.'
Mike Gribble, The Adelaide Advertiser, 12/3/96

'To hear Pablo Percusso is to better understand the significance, and cleverness of the name. It is an act with elements of the surreal and of high camp. The trio plays a highly individual and unusual, manic percussion. There were brilliant sketches which used wine aerators, basketballs and mobile phones respectively. The latter was the only major use of speech, a hilarious ridiculing of the plastic-eared brethren. The pace of the show was amazing. The timing was precise and, however frenetic the body language, the basic rhythms sustained throughout. This was dramatically illustrated during one drumming sequence in tightly sequenced flickering of lights. This transported the particular sequence into another, almost frightening, dimension of rapid eye movement. It further emphasised how the cascade of sound, movement and light was firmly disciplined and regimented, so as to convey the impression of abandonment... An entertainment which was so unusual as to be, one would think, unique in originality and execution of concept. I could have sat through a second show, but will have to try to catch them somewhere else, or persuade someone else to bring them back...'
Michael Foster, The Canberra Times, 18/10/95

'What these guys can do with a Sulo bin, trio of bicycle pumps, fire extinguisher and bunch of drumsticks would make STOMP! wail and stamp their feet. Whether belting shit out of a snare drum or an oil drum, the Cubists of cool put on a damn fine show and positively drive that rhythm through that body of yours. If you don't think you've got rhythm, see Pablo Percusso and have your mind changed for you. And if you can stick to a beat, you'll have a hard time trying to second-guess these innovative thumpings. Definitely twelve stars...'
Lowdown Magazine, June 1995

'Like the great painter on which it has based its name, manic rhythm aces Pablo Percusso construct abstract and often disfigured portraits in junk-percussion. To watch the trio at work is not unlike seeing a working motor in cross-section. They stand in tripod formation around a core of snare drums, cymbals and an array of junk accoutrements; fire extinguishers, basketballs, ceramic dishes and more. The rhythms and frenetic leaping are captivating. Two players maintain a furious beat while, at varying intervals, one percussionist breaks out, as if called upon to solo...while the others provide a pummelling backdrop of major beats. The result is exhaustingly energetic, remarkably tight and humourous to boot. This trio will be revered for mucho gusto Percusso.'
Mike Gribble, The Adelaide Advertiser, 28/3/95

'The best, best, BEST visual act I've ever seen, Pablo Percusso, (a phrase I avoid using) blew me away. Wheelie bins, pots, mobile phones, basketballs, body parts, these three innovators could whack the shit out of anything, and still keep in time. I would have had a coronary before the end of one song. Amazing energy...'
Jeanette Bergman, Rave Magazine, Brisbane, Issue #168, January 1995

'It's a rare and memorable experience when one gig offers so much diverse music of such an impeccable standard. The sounds these guys can drum up, with the help of ceramic pots, basketballs a fire extinguisher and a big green otto bin is amazing. Oozing charisma, energy and especially rhythm, the trio [played] a set inspired by the sights and sounds of their hometown - including a spot-on interpretation of the sounds of a passing train. A brilliant merging of tribal and modern industrial sounds.'
Vanessa Macquarie, On The Street, Sydney, 13/12/94

'The best live experience I've seen since Radio Birdman, Pablo Percusso have launched their debut CD, Junk. This is not your run of the mill percussion act. These 3 guys play anything that makes a noise - fire extinguishers, film reels, beer kegs, basketballs and mobile phones. I cannot possibly explain how good I think Pablo is. The only downside to this CD is that it should have been a video. Live, Pablo are not just a band, they're an experience and this doesn't quite come across on disc. Even so it remains the best thing I've come across in the last month.'
Gerald Thomas Falcon, Zonk, Wollongong, June 1996

'When this trio of percussion artists named themselves after the great Pablo Picasso, they gave themselves mighty big shoes to fill. Despite the challenge, Pablo Percusso lives up to its name - they are innovative, energetic and have a style truly their own. These musicians make music out of junk. They drum on the likes of garbage cans, flower pots, fire extinguishers and old film reels. They also manage to make tunes out of bouncing basketballs and air pumps. Their most ingenious set is when the three create music by talking on cell phones.'
Anika Van Wyk, Calgary Sun, 24/5/96

'Percussion is celebrated in an explosive display of virtuoso drumming by Pablo Percusso, a trio from Australia. The 20-something Percusso guys may look casual with their earrings, cool haircuts, goatees and raggedy cut-offs but they're absolutely disciplined in their thunderous music. They pound their polyrhythmic hearts out on a battered collection of junky drums, metallic objects and tribal instruments, leaping in the air for emphasis.'
Alison Mayes, Calgary Herald, 24/5/96

'Making it's Canadian debut... Pablo Percusso is a young, energetic trio from Australia that turns conventional drums and a remarkable variety of found objects into glorious rhythms, delivered with panache. Basketballs, flower pots, plastic trash cans, hubcaps and bicycle pumps are whacked, bowed, bounced, thumped and squeezed to create a primal symphony of sound and vibration. They're not constrained by conventional definitions of what constitutes a musical instrument. In one delightful sequence, the three combine foot tapping with the rhythms and repetitions of separate conversations on cellular phones to enlist the human voice as a distinctive piece of percussion. The energy and innovation of these manic maestros are not to be missed.'
Barbara Crook, The Vancouver Sun, 29/5/96

'This energetic three piece from Sydney play an array off different instruments that range from the obscure (a kitchen sink) to the ridiculous (a bicycle pump). Nevertheless, this does not disguise the fact that they are accomplished musicians, performing a high energy and imaginative percussion display. If you are looking for something similar to Stomp, then this is not what Pablo Percusso offer. If, however, you are content to watch ninety minutes... of complex percussion rhythms and some very skillful musicianship, then go see Pablo Percusso. Features such as a piece revolving around a city soundscape, with the sound of trains playing underneath, and a comic piece with three basketballs as the only instruments are highlights in what I would rate as a hugely enjoyable show'
Lauren Taylor, In *Press Magazine, 7/2/96

'skadada collaborated in a piece called Paper Kite with the junk-percussion group Pablo Percusso, whose members proceeded to turn central elements of the winery building, including its metal vat, into instant percussive material. Pablo Percusso's own clanging and thunderous set piece employed the sides and lids of wheelie-bins and various pieces of salvaged metal and plastic for a kind of exuberantly demented ballet. Its three very fit young men leaped and pounded... with a huge bonus in vernacular energy.'
Roger Covell, Sydney Morning Herald, 10/12/97

'On May 16, 1996 I saw your show. I think it is great, fun, fantastic, interesting, energetic, cool, quick, loud and really funny! I like the part when you pushed the garbage cans and when you talked on the telephones! Thank-you for coming to Seattle and playing the band'
Malissa Phok, Bailey Gatzert Elementary School, Seattle, Washington, 16/5/96

'Pablo Percusso are dynamite rhythmical maestros with high speeds, flashy showmanship, peaks of energy and shit-eating grins all the way. They're also some of the most entertaining and exciting drumming I've seen...'
Simon Killalea, The Drum Media, Sydney, 22/11/94

Review of our Junk CD

'It was with slight trepidation and uncertainty that I placed "Junk" carefully onto my CD player, especially as the cover reminded me more of a Regurgitator album than any sort of percussive magic that I associate with Pablo. I needn't have feared, however, as the creations of the awesome threesome have translated extremely well onto a recorded format.

For anyone who's seen Percusso in action (often with one or more extra percussionists), my uncertainty that their infectious and energetic performances which get everyone dancing in unusual but uninhibited styles would translate into the studio with the same success is probably shared. It seems that they are more versatile than this however, as they utilise and experiment with the possibilities of a controlled and edited recording.

The theme of urban "junk" seems to have been taken as quite a serious inspiration for Percusso. "...(T)he rhythms and sounds of the city are a reflection upon the lifestyles and purpose of the city's population... Our music often serves as a catalyst to relieve and even rejoice in the frustrations of primate city living." The result is a small selection of tracks that incorporate familiar sounds including voice and recordings from the urban environment, as well as complex but aurally delicious rhythms and tappings.

Percusso have used a variety of instruments from tambourines, cymbals, timbale and bass drum to a wooden folding chair, beer keg, an anvil, electric drill, movie reels, hubcaps, flowerpots, a cowbell, a fire hydrant and a digital editing system that throws them all together to create a cacophony of sound that reeks of city but maintains the tribal feel that has a listener's spirit as well as brain gasping for more.

In particular, the second track Trains, which begins with the all-too familiar electronic bell followed by a recorded voice announcing "the train on platform 22 goes to...", reminds us that these industrial percussive wizards are local ones and deserve more exposure. The rhthyms and sound-stories that proceed throughout this track have the subtle intonation of a train running on a track, and still manage to have moments of tribal - perhaps African inspired? - soundscapes. Weird Beard gives a slower and less chaotic introduction to the C.D. and Construction closes the collection with a bang.

I held my breath at the end of this fifth track hoping more of the wildly addictive, tangy sounds would emit from my small speakers. When no more sprang from them, I was not to be defeated. The C.D. was taken on a journey through the city it echoes to my friend's place where we proceeded to throw ourselves around the loungeroom, grabbing his flatmates as they came in to see where the instrumentalists were hidden, and forcing them to join us in a celebration of "the frustrations of primate city living...We are a product of this city. Junk percussion is what has come naturally to us over the past 20 months, and this recording documents our strong relationship with it." Share in their junk! Get it!'
Cass Steer, Tharunka, Sydney, November 1996

Reviews of Quiver

Pablo Percusso, Leigh Warren & Dancers, The Australian String Quartet

'. . . quite a few sensitive souls wept a little with the sheer pleasure of it all.'
The Advertiser, Adelaide, 25/6/97

'. . . Quiver, so full of good humour, delight in living and unabashed passion for dance. You would need a heart of stone not to feel excited by [Leigh] Warren's programme, so finely balanced, so rich in adventure was it.'
The Adelaide Review, July 1997

'This fabulous collaboration between dancers and live musicians is for anybody.'
Rip It Up Magazine, Issue 426, 26 June-2 July 1997

'Leigh Warren's increasing reliance on fine music and design is nowhere better exemplified than in Quiver. His company has put together a deeply satisfying entertainment, consisting of two dances, Shimmer and Swerve, using six dancers, the Australian String Quartet and the three-member Pablo Percusso. The whole event is neatly knitted together by Mary Moore's costumes and designs and Geoff Cobham's striking lighting designs. . . These players and their music were at the heart of the work.'
The Advertiser, 25/6/97

'The two works that comprise Quiver, Shimmer and Swerve, feature the Australian String Quartet and percussionists Pablo Percusso respectively, not as accompaniment to the movement, but as participants, if not partners, in the production. In Quiver, the musicians become an integral part of the performance, choreographed into the piece.'
dB Magazine, Issue 147, 2 -15 July 1997

'. . . Swerve explodes into the senses. So completely do the percussionists meld into the production that, at times, one becomes unsure about who is dancer and who is musician.'
dB Magazine, Issue 147 2 -15 July 1997

'In Swerve, dancers are joined by Pablo Percusso, three feisty percussionists who've got snares, wheelie-bins, tin lids, hub-caps, car bodies, even folded newspapers, and they aren't afraid to use them. So irresistibly blood-pounding . . . suddenly, a woman moves sinuously around a lone drummer pounding sheets of metal; another contorts in a frenetic dance routine; biceps ripple as sheer male power takes on the pulsing beat; sparks fly between couples as they roll and dive over one another with exhilarating skill and speed. These breathless moments flawlessly integrated dancers and drummers and held us spellbound.'
Rip It Up Magazine, Issue 426, 26 June-2 July 1997

'Swerve [is] a head-on collaboration with the ingenious, accurate and energetic junk percussionists, Pablo Percusso, who play on wheelie bins, sheet metal, newspapers, as well as a terrific array of drums.'
The Australian, 24/6/97

'Swerve [is] a great collaboration with Pablo Percusso whose drummers realised on stage a fantasy of lying back on leopard skin chairs while belting drums which seemed to be suspended in the air above them. The repertoire of wonderful noises made by rustling newspapers, hubcaps and other urban rubbish beggars description.'
The Adelaide Review, July 1997

'. . . astonishing music . . . the electrifying dancers are with it all the way.'
The Australian, 24/6/97

'Delia Silvan and Rachel Jenson's hip wiggle en l'air was just one of the athletic delights of Swerve. . . It was good to see long-time favourite dancers Kim Hales-McCarthur and Csaba Buday in fine form. Peter Sheedy and John Leathart made no less a contribution in a company of strength and great physical beauty.'
The Adelaide Review, July 1997

'Swerve is a high-octane blast of drumming and humorous, sexy dancing. The three members of Pablo Percusso beat on anything from hubcaps to wheelie bins (they've never looked or sounded so good), and the dancers get in on the act too. The energy levels remains high to the startling end, as the foot-stomping, cheering opening-night audience attested.'
The Adelaide Review, July 1997

Quiver's return season has been billed "by popular demand" with far more truth than the hackneyed phrase usually conveys. All noise and fury, Swerve - exhilirating, thoroughly urban, humourously hip - destroys the contemplative mood after interval as the dancers crash on with hup caps strapped to their boots. Both works [Shimmer & Swerve] blur the divisions between musicians and dancers. Pablo Percusso, pounding rhythms from wheelie bins, drums and scrap, mix it up vigourously with the sensational Csaba Buday, Rachel Jenson, John Leathart, Jo Roads, Peter Sheedy and Delia Silvan. Loud and infectious, Swerve is a tighter work than that first seen at Norwood Concert Hall last year.

Jackie Tracy, Sunday Mail, Adelaide, 6/12/98

Shimmer and Swerve, two contrasting dances under the title of Quiver, translated beautifully to the Playhouse from Norwood Town Hall where I saw them for the first time. It is a double bill that should be seen by everyone; particularly those who have become a little disenchanted with contemporary dance or who feel that this form of dance does not speak directly enough to them.

In contrast to the loving kindness of the cohesive group in Shimmer came the neighbourhood mayhem and streetwise anarchy of Swerve. The unique percussion group Pablo Percusso, shared the stage with the dancers who were given many opportunities to show their individuality. It was hot and mesmeric, complex rhythmically and simply wild. That most watchable dancer Delia Silvan could not even be upstaged by Pablo Percusso's brilliant tricks with wheelie bins, hubcaps, newspapers and more. The musicians were dancers, the dancers were the beat. It was both tough and delicate, with plenty of references to contemporary street life, youth off the leash, angry and impatient.

The lighting, by Geoff Cobham, suited the Playhouse and enhanced the works. The costumes (and sets) by Mary Moore thought wonderful, making a large contribution to the success of both Shimmer and Swerve.

Shirley Stott Despoja, Adelaide Review, 1/1/99

The second part of Quiver, Swerve, was a little unrealised at its first showing, but that's all changed. There have been obvious changes to the work: it's brasher, louder, faster and very, very sexy. The percussive frenzy that is Pablo Percusso lends itself to wild and uninhibited movement, and that is what we got. The stage was one wild party. The sheer contrast of the two works that comprise Quiver makes this an excellent programme.

Arna Eyers-White, dB Magazine, Adelaide, December 98

Swerve collaborates with junk-percussion group Pablo Percusso in a sexy, funky street party of a piece where everything and everyone on stage gets involved. High-powered blasts of drumming intersperse with layers of complex cross-rhythm tapped and belted out using hub caps, newspapers and wheelie-bins as the dancers drum and the drummers dance.

Celia Brissenden, Adelaide Advertiser, 4/12/98

Swerve is an extraordinary contrast [to Shimmer]. Where the quartet was refined, this is hard and raw. From the peculiar sound of a hubcap spinning on the floor to a ballet with wheelie bins, via a collection of gongs, drums, bins, tins, projector reels and bits of washing machine which are struck, stroked, beaten or drummed in every imaginable way. Although it has been substantially reworked since its last first showing in Adelaide, the driving force and insistent rhythm continue to shape the dance to an inordinate degree. High energy throughout, dancers and musicians sweating like the athletes they are! And again, the musicians don't get off lightly. Indeed they are subjected to Forsyth-like indignities, with hands and arms, feet and legs arranged by the dancers to act as comfortable props, on which the dancers promptly recline ... but it works both ways, because while the musos get into the dance, the dancers are more often than not stealing away to the drum kit. Laced with humur, Swerve is a great piece - a wonderful collision of ideas and styles.

Peter Burdon, Adelaide GT, 11/12/98

Swerve takes us to the streets and serves us up a mixture of Stomp, rap and Tap Dogs which is done with verve and energy. The work is set to driving rhythms from the three percussionists of Pablo Percusso. Integrated into the dance, the drummers and their instruments move constantly around the stage, and even acquit themselves well in some passages of dance. At first with chrome hubcaps fitted to the soles of their shoes, the dancers stomp and tap their way around, before slipping into more athletic footwear in which they excel with body gyrations. In folk style, individuals come out of the group to display spectacular solo passages, then merge back as another takes over.

Percussive instruments include drums, but also cymbals, hubcaps and wheelie bins. The wild dance builds to a crescendo and a finish which is as sudden as it is effective. Just when you thought it had ended, however, the drummers emerge out of the darkness to resume, at first gently, before building into a whole new section of rhythm and dance.

Larry Ruffell, The Canberra Times, 12/11/98

Swerve is loud, in-your-face and sexy, the dancers sharing the stage with industrial drummers Pablo Percusso... [it] explodes in a brash, uninhibited display of bodies moving symbiotically with percussion. Inspired by the car chase in the Steve McQueen classic Bullitt, there are four sections: Idle, Cruise, Rev and Head-on. Swerve's collaborative structure between dancers and musicians givs it an infectious mood of playful high-voltage energy (the programme description of it as a collision of dance and music is spot-on). Swerve's unusual mix of control and freneticism, classical lines, contemporary and jazz technique show the dancers' dynamic skill to full advantage. A break between the penultimate and final sections in which just the drummers perform a segment on hubcaps slows the momentum but it quickly escalates again as Head-on begins, the intensifying tension palpable. Quiver is contemporary dance with an appealing directness.

Olivia Stewart, The Courier Mail, Brisbane, 29/10/98

In Quiver, Leigh Warren explores wildly divergent corners of the musical world and makes them collide. The first half of the program, Shimmer, offers the stirring beauty of a Graham Koehne string quartet and a dance of increasingly ecstatic spiritual power. The second half, Swerve, bangs heads together as percussion group Pablo Percusso mix it with Warren's dancers in a vibrant, exuberant and astoundingly noisy body-slam.

Warren also likes to blur the boundaries between dancers and musicians. In Swerve, the separation disappears as dancers play instruments and the Pablos fling themselves about with an admirable amount of vigour. Swerve brings out the heavy roller. Pablo Percusso whack and bang everything in sight, including their signature wheelie bins, and there is non-stop, high-voltage dance action.

The Australian, 6/11/98

Don't take this the wrong way, but Leigh warren's latest dance offering, Quiver, strikes me as everyman's sex manual. The first part, Shimmer, is all Tantric - drawn out, restrained and ravishing. The second, Swerve, is a zipless you-know-what, explosive, immediate and delirious. Quiver is a splendid collaboration between Warren's dancers, the Australian String Quartet and that extraordinary junk percussion group, Pablo Percusso.

There is nothing subterranean about the sexuality of Swerve. It is as promiscuous and blatant as Pablo Percusso who make music out of anything from wheelie bins to newspapers, hubcaps and drums. It all starts in laid-back fashion, but soon takes off in explosive athleticism which only ends with th company of dancers laid out like victims of a firing squad.

On the surface, this is a program of contrasts - appealing to two kinds of audience, or perhaps to two sides of the same audience. But there are fascinating connections. The way the dancers and on-stage musicians work in together; the exploration of music and dance; and Warren's ironical look at sexuality. It is a wonderfully fulfilling evening. the purists will prefer Shimmer (naturally), but find Swerve a great relief.

Paul McGillick, The Australian Financial Review, 14-15/11/98

Melbourne was treated to two fine new works by Leigh Warren and Dancers on Tuesday night. These sharply contrasting pieces were connected by a strong use of music, while differentiated through very distinct movement dynamics. Shimmer was as subdued and sedate as Swerve was raucous and raunchy. What a contrast after interval with Swerve: dancers dressed boldly in leather and lace, an industrial looking set and uncouth [sic] musicians pacing the stage. The opening scene featured dancers as musicians, playing percussion with hubcaps attached to their feet like giant taps. As the dancers tiptoed and taptoed, the three members of Pablo Percusso indulged in a little role-reversal as well. Ably, they parodied many of the stock moves of contemporary dance. One of the most exciting moments of the night was a dancer-musician duet. She shimmied, shivered and wallowed as he played his hi-hat with great gusto. A later wild dance sequence, accompanied by the musicians playing wheelie bins, perhaps signalled the beginning of a new "garbage" music craze. The opening night's audience enjoyed an evening of stimulating entertainment. Go and see it for yourself!

Kim Dunphy, The Age, Melbourne, 19/11/98

Leigh Warren's six dancers are a versatile group. Quiver combines two starkly contrasting works, Shimmer and Swerve, in a rich double bill highlighting the technical range of the dancers and the diversity of Warren's aesthetic. Both pieces feature well-conceived musical collaborations, deepening their theatricality and, in the case of Swerve, encouraging performers to extend beyond familiar territory.

With its loud percussion, chic costumes and gritty ambience, Swerve offers the antithesis of Shimmer. The wild movement has a raw energy, dominatd by individual solos [sic] rather than a collective consciousness. Performers flaunt high kicks, flips and wild thrashing. While Shimmer is calculated and refined, Swerve has an improvisational, hedonistic feel. Warren taps the raw athleticism of percussion group Pablo Percusso, merging the trio so completely into the work that at moments musicians and dancers become indistinguishable within the aural and visual displays of complicated rhythms. Percussionists partner dancers while dancers beat on rubbish bins and walk on hub caps. Music and dance collaborations are rarely this integrated and Warren organises the elements in an entertaining way.

Stephanie Glickman, Herald Sun, Melbourne, 19/11/98

Although Swerve ostensibly deals with cars - hub-caps and similar objects being used in the dance and music - the overall feel is that of urban tribalism. The movement is what should happen at clubs: big, bold, sometimes stupid but always spectacular - an energetic, sleazy game. Swerve represents a series of individuals dancing together, rather than a devised stage picture. This beautifully captures the coming togther of the tribes that rave culture is supposed to (but rarely does) create. Quiver is a fantastic night of dance and music which, like Swerve itself, eludes attempts to characterise choreographer Leigh Warren's work through a single phrase, be it melancholy or joyous community.

Jonathan Marshall, In Press, Melbourne, 25/11/98


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