After delving deep into the world of Baby Tap when she interviewed him back in September, Roxann Yus had the pleasure of attending his album release launch party for ENKI at Rough Trade last week...
This unique and exclusive-feeling event captured the city’s pearliest treasured depths: it was an insight into an exhilarating underground music scene, yet-to-be-heard-and-celebrated artists, and an intimate celebration of unapologetic queer joy.
As we entered, I must say, the first thought that occurred to me was how fabulous everybody looked. Baby Tap certainly has a gorgeous and talented cohort of fans already. The next thought was how apt a location for his launch party: Rough Trade has band’s beginnings slathered all over it. Literally.
As we sipped our drinks, my friend and I pointed out all the bands on the walls that have made it big in the UK today, including the likes of Black Honey, Palaye Royale, and Royal Blood. We also found Baby Tap’s signature in multiple spots around the venue, in snug gaps between local talent and national gems.
During the Where’s Wally of band names on the wall, we all warmed up to Baby Tap’s big night through feeling the vibrations of DJ Boz’s electro spins. Soon after, G4YBOY entered the stage dressed in cat ears, dungarees, and jockstraps. I assume this is pretty standard for them, especially as one song preambles with meow noises, and another takes the medium of hymn, rewriting a chapter to the rare, nonetheless possible, bin-man and cat-boy lovers arc.
But my favourite song from them was undoubtedly their song about Berlin. This was my time to shine on the dancefloor: my year abroad in Germany is over, but what remains? The techno moves. I may have only visited Berlin once during my time abroad, but I did indeed get into a techno club. And the Berlin muscle memory leaves a lasting impact.
If this display of whacky, yet entirely within the boundaries of sober capability (congrats, you two), couldn’t hype you up for the night ahead, I’m not sure what on earth could cut it. Luckily, it was the case: grooved up to the nines, surrounded by positive and radiating energy, I was so excited to see Baby Tap perform live for the first time.
And now I must iterate why first impressions count: Baby Tap also looked head-over-heels fabulous. Decorated in bunny ears, latex, blood, paradox, and childhood nightmare, he was a dangerously campy treat to the eyes.
As soon as he stepped on stage, the crowd could feel how much this moment meant to him. Baby Tap had been working on ENKI since the pandemic, and this show was a gift to everyone, but most importantly, himself, for allowing creativity to win through the trials and tribulations of apocalyptic life.
There wasn’t a moment where the crowd nor Baby Tap weren’t jumping, spinning about, and letting the techno muscle memory take over. At least I’ve convinced myself that that’s the reason my photos from the night turned out so badly.
Or maybe it’s from the bottles of water Baby Tap threw on himself out of athletic necessity, or the blood that may have splattered into the crowd. You know what iPhones are like after a couple of years.
But what is unchanging after a couple of years is the impact ENKI still holds. It’s true that art gives the gift of persona: you can be anybody you want in your medium, and Baby Tap consistently chooses to be human, yet digital; energetic, yet ridiculously cool; covered in blood, yet a body of hope and healing; an amalgamation of genre, yet a constant thread.
Baby Tap’s performance was truly an exhilaration and ode to the grassroots of electronic and queer-made music. Nottingham has an exciting LGBTQ+ music and arts scene, but sometimes you must dive to the city’s pearl-lined bed to find them. Learning to swim is all the joy - you find all sorts of creatures down there, including cat-headed duos and bunny-eared blood-suckers.
Baby Tap performed at Rough Trade on 8 November 2023
We have a favour to ask
LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?