Though their first material surfaced online some time back, Tiny Giant – that is, Chloë Alper, formerly of stellar UK proggers Pure Reason Revolution, and Mat Collis – are tentatively making their first concerted live steps as support for Jane Getter on this tour.
Their music is a long way from Pure Reason Revolution’s genre-blending mix of progressive rock and electronica. Though sharing some electronic lineage, Tiny Giant’s sound is more indebted to the 80s era of shoegaze and dream pop, even if some of the rhythms and guitar melodies are more angular than genre norms.
Seeing Everything As Though It Is Real and Heavy Love, their two songs available online, are the only tracks that immediately elicit any kind of reaction from the crowd, though it’s hard to tell if that’s because they’re familiar or because they’re strong songs. As it happens, they’re both great, but the stop-start angularity and powerful vocal of the former definitely marks it out as the stronger of the pair. Alper’s vocals are tremendous, and she cuts effortlessly above the instruments, even when they squall up in dream pop-like bursts of noise. All too soon, Tiny Giant are gone, though hopefully it’s far from the last we’ll hear from them.
Jane Getter’s band for this tour might be missing iconic Living Colour frontman Corey Glover and Steven Wilson collaborator Theo Travis, but it boasts Wilson and Miles Davis associate Adam Holzman on keys, as well as legendary Joe Satriani and Steve Vai accomplice and solo bassist Stu Hamm. Playing extensively from their new record On, as well as some older cuts, the band seem at ease and in full flow barely seconds after the first note has been struck.
Surprised is an early highlight, and it’s probably the reason the new record has been compared to some of Steven Wilson’s solo work. Its unusual, slightly jarring harmonies and downtempo vocals overlay jazz fusion passages that duck and weave between sections of heavier rock riffs.
Introducing Train Man, Getter explains that it was inspired by an encounter on the subway with an agitated stranger, and that its abstract, disconnected lyrics are mostly verbatim quotes from this encounter. These lines perfectly match the choppy, capricious instrumental backing. The riffy breakdown is where the band’s energy peaks, with Getter laying down a blazing solo at the climax of the song.
Returning to the stage, they oblige the audience with The Loop, another highlight from On, which they execute with style and verve, giving the crowd one last burst of virtuosic fusion before leaving them wanting more.