Sunday, February 17, 2008

Late Of The Pier / Video Nasties / Slagsmalsklubben Bar Academy Saturday 16th February 2008

You might recall me banging on about Late of the Pier, late last year (oooh a rhyme so I was looking forward to tonight's gig. Suffice to say it was rammed, right from the outset, with a healthy crowd of arms in air young folk going seven shades of mental for...bear with me here...let me get this right...Slagsmalsklubben (there's a little circle thing over the second a...but I can't do that...unless someone knows how...answers on a piece of plywood please). I must admit that I've never heard of Slagsmalsklubben before, but they're a real treat, a smorgasbord of Euro disco, Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre all played by a row of 'mad for it' Swedes waving their hands in the air, like they just don't care. Sure, some of the music sounds like it could be the soundtrack to Super Mario Goes Clubbing (or should that be Klubben?) but it all made sense to me last night...enough to make me buy a CD (that and the fact that I didn't fancy trying to spell their name without some reference material).

Next up, Video Nasties...oooh scary. Actually, they weren't. I think they're Swedish too, but based in the UK. Musically they're a little bit punk, a little bit rock, a little bit indie...there's a strong hint of The Strokes here and there too (cop a load of Stereo). It was a nice bit of rough after the sweetness of the Slagsmalsklubben set, played with plenty of oooomph and jizz, and I found myself jigging up and down in a manner that us sad middle aged men have perfected (this'll be you in a few years pop kids ha!)

That left the main event, Late Of The Pier, a band responsible for one of THE records of the noughties, 'Bathroom Gurgle'. Given the style of music, the fact that the gig was sold out and the general yoofulness of the audience I knew it was going to get sweaty, but I can't stand being at the back of gigs...or the middle...there's just no I threw myself into the whole thing and pogoed along like someone's dad. The pop kids didn't seem to mind, bless 'em. Anyway, the music. It's a glorious retelling of the 80's by people who probably weren't even born until the very end of the decade. In my humble opinion the 80's were bleeping brilliant, not in an ironic 'ooooh look at that hair, what were we thinking' kind of way either. It really was the last great era of pop, with a level of experimentation and sheer insanity that we'll never see again. Adam Ant, Boy George, Madonna (when she was American), Jacko (before he was a crackpot), Prince (before he was a squiggle), Sal Solo, Marc Almond, Thomas Dolby, Heaven 17, The Human League, Duran Duran, Billy MacKenzie, Yello, Joy Division/New Order, The Smiths, ABC...I'm going off on one, but you get the picture. Well, for my money Late Of The Pier, have that same spirit of experimentation that makes clever pop special. 'Bathroom Gurgle' is undoubtedly their 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. Several songs in one, vocal acrobatics, different movements, wibbly bits...genius. Why the hell it wasn't number one for the whole of 2007 I'll never know. 'Space and the Woods' is pure Tubeway Army, with that brilliant dirty synth sound. And forthcoming single 'The Bears Are Coming' has Bow Wow Wow bits of drumming mixed with mental Dolby-esque 'She Blinded Me With Science' style theramin-ish wig outs. By the end of the set I was a sweaty mess...inside and out...but happy that I'd just witnessed one of the first big bands of 2009 (it seems to take a year or so for the really good bands to cross over - witness Gallows, Foals, The Gossip etc...unless you've been on X Factor that's just the way it goes)...and one of the best bands of the 80's too. Which is some achievement.

NB: In a nod to the old skool (and 'cos I didn't want my new camera to end up inside a 15 year old boys rectum...'cos of the moshing...nothing sexual...pervert) I took my trusty 3.2 megapixel beast instead and thrust it in the air for a few desperate shots. Amazingly one or two came out! I also have a fine collection of heads, so if you ever need closeups of someone's head I'm your man.

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