Pop Levi, stock still, back to the audience, stares upwards.
His band, several minutes into their one-chord set opener, have captured the attention of a group of passing Friday-nighters on the street above.
Presented with this strange vision luminated on Korova’s singular stage below them, they do the only thing they know how – boozily loon around.
Pop turns back to his now fully primed audience and gives a deft nod. His band instantly slips from their towering build-up into Prince’s Dollar Bill Rock. Everyone goes wild. Pop has landed.
Having served an exhaustive apprenticeship in Liverpool – featuring stints with Ladytron and Super Numeri – Levi is now returning to the city with his new line-up, having relocated to Los Angeles some months ago. With an EP warmly received upon its release this month, and a full album on the way from the specially created Ninja Tune imprint Counter, Pop is finally becoming a real contender.
No one who followed his singular progress expected anything less. Levi is a performer who not only deserves, but simply demands, to be seen.
His idiosyncratic take on roots rhythm and blues as refracted through a psychedelic disco ball tells only half the story. An immaculately coiffered dandy with Bambi eyes, Levi himself, dripping with that vital sense of the otherwordly, completes the picture.
A mass of oxymorons – effortlessly cool, flamboyantly cheesy, futuristically retro – he makes it almost impossible to avert your gaze from him.
When it does drift it finds his similarly entrancing rhythm guitarist Domino. With intense eyes sweeping the crowd like cosmic beacons his torso flips from planted feet as he joyously pumps away on a guitar strapped almost to the chin.
Together they vibe through a couple of songs greeted like long lost friends – including the EP’s lead track, Blue Honey, before showcasing several tracks from the new album, of which Pick Me Up Uppercut particularly stands out in a truly transfixing performance. The Friday-nighters should stick around next time.
Pop Levi @ 100 Club, London
Pop Levi – The Return To Form Black Magick Party
Pop Levi @ Water Rats, London