Continuing his Levitation tour Jeremy Loops performed a full set at Huxley Neu Welt, Berlin on the 30th of Jan
I was eager to cover this particular gig. It wasn’t just an excuse for a fun Wednesday night but a trip down memory lane. Having spent some years in Cape Town, South Africa, where the performer originates from I’d seen Jeremy Loops more than a few times. I’d seen him play in different bars, at weird gigs, and at a few festivals.
This was when ‘looping’ was emerging as a progressive live act. It was before Ed Sheeran (basically). Entire songs were made in front of you by doing on the spot recording, layers upon layers, an artist doing the job of an entire band. Whatever the timeline, the music was exciting because of its intimacy – crafting something already written but instantaneously unique in its performance.
His name was always a pleasure on the line-up, and is even more so today. His music is sharp, sensual, exciting and fitting to the most southern part of the great continent – songs born in good weather and happy distraction.
I left Cape Town around the time his debut album released in 2014, so I was eager to see the development.
First, we were treated to James Hersey who performed with two others, making them a trio. It was indie type music, high chords, clean sound purposely lacking in distortion. The cool cleanliness highlighted the cleverly crafted lyrics. Synchronisation and the tightness of the ensemble stood out most, and it was impressive, particularly the drumming, carried by the singer’s upbeat presence. It was a fine compliment to the act he was supporting.
Jeremy Loops emerged in bright lights, colourful shirt, looking like he just finished a good surf.
Loops was supported by other musicians including, but not confined, to a DJ and a drummer (more on that later). I was used to the guy on his own, mixing as he went, occasionally with members of other bands playing at the same festival or gig. The energy of this established and internationally touring act struck home immediately.
The large space was instantly filled with a familiar warmth, an upbeat vibe I forgot I missed, louder and with new songs. Loops has a tremendous amount of liveliness to his performance, dancing over and around the stage, often not resting between songs. At the front were an eager young crowd, the same as I once was when he was starting out; lame, cool, young and beautiful. Their feet stomping with an enthusiasm I’d almost forgotten.
Jeremy started with his newer tracks, ‘Wave’ being a standout. The track has a soft feel to it – it’s a song about being in the moment, creating harmony through steady electronic rhythm and soft sequential lyrics. It was noticeably different from his other songs in its high production, clearly developed through new hardware and techniques I can only assume were on-brought in this healthy and budding career.
Loops has a tremendous amount of liveliness to his performance, dancing all over the stage and often not resting between songs.
As the set went on the tempo and intensity went higher. More musicians would come to join him, allowing for layers that were funner (a lazy but accurate word in this case – sue me). Layers upon layers, a song built for the crowd until eventually it was a free for all of full-on jam-band worthy to the rhythms of the Western Cape of South Africa.
I was ecstatic by the end. Why? Because out of nowhere yet another South African DJ I loved made an appearence – Mr Sakitumi. Without saying too much, the guy was a legend in Cape Town, a bassist and DJ who experimented not just with Bass and DJing but a visionary in the art of VJing. We had bass solos, sax solos, rap verses – tied together with Jeremy Loops as the front man and Conductor. It’s hard to define a particular song at this time, the style of ‘looping’ literally denied it. Let’s just say by that point it was a spectacle just for us.
I was eventually and gladly treated to the Jeremy Loops I knew. The show finished with a harmonica and acoustic guitar, playing the songs that first made me love him.
After enjoying what was new and nostalgically upbeat I was eventually and gladly treated to the Jeremy Loops I once knew. The show finished with a harmonica and acoustic guitar, playing the songs that made me love him. Jeremy Loops took the stage alone, supplying vocals, backing vocals, lead, rhythm, and everything else in between. Once upon time had me smiling ear to ear, and I left that night with the same goofy smile.
So forgive me for indulging in the past, but he’s an act you should try and see in the future. On that cold Wednesday night in Berlin Jeremy Loops brought the warm sunny days of South Africa. Pretty sure that’s the aim, regardless if you’re me.