Music review: SK Shlomo: Surrender, Underbelly – Cowgate, Edinburgh

It’s a treat to watch SK Shlomo close-up, taking our oohs, aahs, and roars and brilliantly making dance music out of them on the modest machine he calls The Beast.

SK Shlomo: Surrender, Underbelly Cowgate (Venue 61)

SK Shlomo: Surrender, Underbelly – Cowgate, Edinburgh * * *

In his new show, Surrender, he charts his story from the days when he joined the bellydancers at his Iraqi Jewish grandparents’ home, the only child of an immigrant family at an English primary school. His parents’ gift of a drum kit foreshadowed a career as record-breaking beatboxer and world looping champion who has worked with Ed Sheeran and Bjork.

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Then crisis hit: he came off the road, cancelled everything, and vowed to take a new course. The “waters of anxiety” began to rise. Isolated by “the shame of secret suffering”, he set about making a different kind of work, while enduring damaging abuse on Twitter. In the atmospheric cavern space of the Bellydancer, he quickly has the audience on his side and on their feet.

We saw this on a quiet, rain-drenched Sunday, rather than a Saturday night riot of noise and light. It was a little unclear whether his career reached a full-blown crisis, or a creative fork in the road, in his quest for a safe way to be vulnerable.

Until 23 August