Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Kid's more than alright - The Anomalies are back!


Regular readers will know of my love for The Anomalies. Like Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip they're a refreshing homegrown take on Hip Hop. Famed for their blistering live shows, they've already got bunch of classy singles behind them including Employee Of The Month and Bamboo Beats (if you've not heard 'em yet you can check 'em out on their My Space thingy). Now they're back with another one - Kid Riot. Starting off like a 21st Century take on Mungo Jerry's In the Summertime with words by Morrissey (check out the opening line) it suddenly goes all breakbeat mentalist. Love it. Lyrically it's an all too time timely response to the growing knife culture but, if that all sounds a little dark, it ain't. It's a struggle sitting down and listening to it...I have to keep resisting the urge to leap up and start pogoing up and down (partly because it's bloody hard to type when you're doing that and partly 'cos I'd brain myself on the ceiling in the process). At the same time the band seem, quite wisely, to be questioning the media coverage and general paranoia over some 13 year old in a hoodie sticking his gran's carving knife in yer jugular. Yep there's a big problem out there, but fear breeds fear right? Wrapping all this up in something as butt shakingly catchy as Kid Riot ain't an easy trick to pull off, but then I guess that's why they're called The Anomalies. The single's out in cyberspace on the 8th September and the real world on 15th but you can listen to it over and over again on the wonder that is MySpace. As an added bonus the band are hitting the road for a UK tour in September - including a must see date at The Barfly on the 20th - no doubt promoted by the lovely Platform Promotions. It'll be a (Kid) Riot...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Toby Goodshank / Gary Nock and Band / Dizzy Spells Martian / Jamie Croft @ The Rainbow, Thursday 24th July 2008


Continuing my series of 'Nights At The Rainbow' (having polished off Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) I give you number four - Thursdays. It's a funny night, Thursday. Not quite the end of the working week for most of us, last weekend's just a distant memory. Perhaps this explains the low turnout. I daresay the weather didn't help although, thanks to The Rainbow's swanky roll back roof, we were able to enjoy the dying embers of the day (see, you don't get poetry like this from other blogs eh? You probably don't want to...but that's a different matter altogether I guess).

First up Jamie Croft. Another great solo spot (saw him back in May, supporting Bryn Christopher) and, despite having only heard most of the songs just once they'd lodged firmly in my aging brain. Which is always the mark of quality songwriting and a top notch performance. He has a wonderfully laid back style, eyes closed and lost in the song, you get the feeling that this is someone who is as happy strumming away to himself as he is to an audience. Which, for me, is the right way round. Lots of standout moments, but Supergirl, Dance With The Devil and I'll Save You Tonight were all pretty close to 'acoustic arcadia'.

Heartfelt, honest, stripped back, real, quirky...call it what you want, Anti-folk captures something that a lot of more 'mainstream' music has lost. And Dizzy Spells Martian is a wonderful example of this. Like fellow Anti-folkster, Kimya Dawson, her performance is gentle, personal and deeply touching. It's almost like we're seeing inside her head. Like me it seems that Dizzy would rather like to live in another world. A much nicer world. And she brings to life one that I'd be quite happy to live in forever and ever and ever...have a listen to Come Along With Us (on her My Space page) and I'll see you inside that tree.

I've not seen Gary Nock without his band...but this was his first gig with one. Nice and tight, they'd clearly put in the hours and, after the stripped back performances of the first two artists, this came on like Led Zepp in a thunderstorm. Listening to his solo My Space stuff, and comparing it to the full band performance, I'd probably plump for the full band. Both have their strengths but he really seemed to buzz off having people to play with. It felt right, it looked right and by heaven it sounded right.

Last up Toby Goodshank. Toby (once a Moldy Peach) is a true star of the Anti-folk scene. Like Jeffrey Lewis he's an artist (in the drawing sense of the word) too, but unlike Jeffrey (and a number of fellow Anti-folksters) his voice is incredibly powerful and rich. Many of the lyrics have an equal depth to them, full of potent imagery that would give Phil Ochs and Decemberists fans something to get their teeth into. Take a listen to Bad Dream on his MySpace page for a classic example of what I'm banging on about. This was a simply stunning performance, the kind that you feel lucky to have seen and, like many of the Anti-folk themed gigs I've seen over the years, it goes right into my list of favourites. If you're in Bristol, Brighton or London over the next three days (26th, 27th and 28th) you must...MUST...go and see Toby and Dizzy. Give 'em a hug, buy the merch and give them the send off (these are the last few dates of their UK tour) they both deserve.

PS: A special mention must go to Greg, sometime member of She's A Kamikaze Machine and full time Theatre Of The Absurd (he appears to have cancelled his My Space page so I can't give you a link), for his two wonderfully spirited guest slots (he played with Dizzy and Toby). If he reads this, Noel Coward sends his love and Quentin would like his chair back!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jose Vanders / Little Palm / Gemma Quarterman @ The Rainbow, Monday 21st July 2008


Fridays, Wednesdays, Mondays...see I told you this Kamikaze! lot were at it all the time. I'm not complaining though, especially with a bill as strong, and different, as this one. Yes, tonight was a mini ladyfest. Three artists. All female. Makes a real (and refreshing) change from the norm. First up was the lovely Gemma, who I'd seen before with her band Le Retrovailles. (RIP). Impressed by her voice last time, I was blown away by it on this gig. I think I remember comparing her to a female Jeff Buckley (high praise indeed) on the last review and she really does have that same kind of emotional intensity, range and control. Hush remains her masterpiece but there's a whole bunch of other great songs just waiting in the wings. There was one that had a lyric about 'too many crosses by your name'...that might even have been the title...whatever it's called, I loved it.

Next up another artist I was seeing for the second time, Little Palm (aka Anna Palmer). I think the last gig I saw her play was one of her first. Naturally she was a little nervous but I do remember being really darn impressed by her raw talent. This time, some months (and gigs) later, and with quality backing from a number of other musicians (including a violin...good call) she oozed confidence. Her voice has a bluesy kind of tinge and I got a bit of early Alicia Keys in places (listen to Now for instance) rather than Tori Amos (who she's been compared to before). But, like all great artists (and I include all of those who played tonight in this category) she adds her own unique touch. Vulnerable but defiant, young but with a maturity that belies her years, she is, to quote one of her own tracks, Magic.

Last up, and maintaining the high standard, was Jose Vanders. Unlike Gemma and Little Palm (both local artists) Jose was on nationwide tour. Not sure if she'd played Brum before but she had a fair old crowd right up at the front of the stage. After a little digging on t'net it's clear that Jose's rapidly attracting a loyal fanbase (even blogging 'queen' Perez - not Paris - Hilton is a fan). Having seen her I can see why. With song titles like Mother Theresa Can't Dive and Madame Lenormand it's clear we're in more eclectic territory than most artists of her age. I love Regina Spektor and there's a definite Spektorish quality to some of the tracks. But Jose's got a softer, folkier voice. Her lyrics are more emotionally based too, capturing just what it's like to be 18 and in love. These days I find it's all too rare when an artist really connects with an audience on this kind of level, but Jose did. I've not been 18 for a year or two...oh, alright then a decade or two...but I left this gig with more of a spring in my step than when I went in. And that's the sign of a very, very good gig. Congratulations to all concerned. Tonight was special.
Tomorrow night I return to the Rainbow for ex Moldy Peach Toby Goodshank...I think I may have to move in...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Velvet Texas Cannonball / Burnside / Telegramme / The Archives @ The Rainbow Friday 18th July 2008


After last week's noisefest at Super Sonic (and a great deal of therapy...together with a minor bit of brain surgery) this week saw my return to Kamikaze! which can't be far off celebrating its 1st Birthday at the Rainbow now. My, how time flies. But before we start whipping out the cake n'balloons, on with business and first up a solid opening set from The Archives. There's a moddish touch to their music in places, together with that kind of Gallagher swagger from frontman Justin and a little bluesy vibe here and there. Some good guitar playing from Paul last night too. You can check out the pick of their tracks, Rehabilitation (Live) on that there MySpace doodah.

Next up Telegramme...a band I can remember being impressed with a while back (yes, even at my age the memory is still as sharp as a whatsit). It's always good to see a really great, ballsy female fronted rock band and Telegramme are just that. Lead singer, Faye, has a classic blues rock voice, think a less cracked Janis Joplin and you won't be too far off in places. Musically there's a nice touch of punk attitude in there together with the rock n'roll stuff, guitarist, Andew, in particular thrashed around like a man on fire. There's a shed load of their stuff for you to listen to over in MySpace world, I'd start with one of my personal favourites You Won't Make It. Good stuff.

Right, Burnside up next. Despite being a Rainbow regular I don't think I've seen 'em before. Blues rock with a twist...some rather excellent vocal harmonies between the three (count 'em...three...) vocalists. Three vocalists?! That's just being greedy. It works though. Bloody well too. I'd love to see The Birthday Song used by Coca Cola in an advertising campaign...listen to it and you'll see what I mean. It seems as though they've been going for ages (since 2002 at least) so, live, they're as sharp as ninepence. Musical touchstones for me include Gomez, Manfred Mann's Earth Band (but that could just be me...) and Love. Nice mix. They've got a few tracks that you can listen to but, to be honest, they're ten times better live. Can't see any forthcoming dates for 'em but they're well worth keeping an eye open for.

Okay. Last up...drumroll please...VELVET TEXAS CANNONBALL!!!!!!!!! Love, love, love this band. They walk the walk...and dress it too. Yes, I know music shouldn't be all about the image, but hell, let's face facts, it matters. So, they look incredible. Full marks there. But the sound, that's every bit as glorious. If you pressed some of their tunes on old school vinyl, scuffed 'em up a bit and played 'em to musos they'd swear they were some long lost classics from the golden age of rock. Think The Doors, Cream, Hendrix and a dozen other greats all blended up and served with a fresh dash of that magic ingredient...X. Adam Adam is a simply spellbinding drummer. Man and kit in perfect harmony. But, to be honest, every single one of the band is a star in their own right. Ladies and gentleman...this is Birmingham's very own rock supergroup. Spread the word. Tell your friends. Write their name on walls. Make your own T-shirts. Get a tattoo. This is a group that demands mucho attention.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Justice Yeldham Live @ Super Sonic 2008

Before I leave Super Sonic alone for another year here's a short clip that I filmed of Justice Yeldham playing his piece of glass. Don't worry, this is before the blood spilling...but it does give you some idea of the extraordinary noise he creates.

video

Monday, July 14, 2008

Super Sonic Day Three @ The Custard Factory, Sunday 13th July 2008


And the Lord sayeth 'tis Sunday...verily go get ye brains blown out by a pair of Japanese dudes'. Yes. I have lost part of my brain so I need to keep my whistle stop tour of day three brief, lest I lose all control of my motor functions and just sit here dribbling (no change there then).

Thanks to me being a bit disorganised we missed Einstellung (shame, they are v.good), but arrived in time to see musical dynamo Max Tundra, a man who packs more sass, humour and beats into his set than should be humanly possible. Loved this guy. Shades of Moby, Kid Carpet, Arthur Russell, Zappa and Scissor Sisters all wrapped up in a bundle of loveliness. Bought a CD. £5. Bargain. He's supporting Hot Chip in October (Brum date on the 29th I believe - go see). Check out his Tunng remix of Bullets too. Mashtastic.

After a quick dash to the bank for more funds got back just in time for Parts and Labor...or Labour as we say here in the UK. You say potato etc etc...anyway, jerky, punky musical base topped (in a pizza stylee) with contrastingly tuneful vocals. I'll have a large slice please. I kept thinking Arcade Fire...with a bit of Flaming Lips. But then what do I know...I am missing part of my brain after all. Saw a little of math rock disco party dudes Errors then a dash of Earth. Back to the heavy stuff. Doom laden, portentous but strangely melodic. Kept making me want to nod my head and throw my long hair around. But I have a skinhead and that would just look bloody stupid.

Onto yet another glorious treat - Fucked Up (pictured). I do love a bit of hardcore punk. My two Gallows gigs rate as some of the maddest nights I've ever had and I had to hold myself back from jumping into the moshpit today. Lead singer - and all round legend - Pink Eyes is a man mountain of punk attitude. The band ripped the place apart and after mucho drone rock it was a refreshing (and much needed) boost of energy. Thrashing about in the audience, cracking jokes, even carrying one guy right to the back of the venue, old Pink Eyes gave us blood (smashing cans in your head will do that), sweat and tears (of joy). My sweaty embrace with him at the end remains a festival highlight.

Right this is where it all went a bit...okay...a lot nuts. Kikuri (can't find a Myspace page for them...) features Japanese noise monsters Merzbow and Keiji Haino. Merzbow tortures the life out of a pair of Apple Macs loaded with the very sounds of hell itself. Keiji hits back with some sort of table theramin type thing, a guitar and (I think) a traditional Japanese instrument - all enjoying some mighty feedback and fx. Oh, he sings too. Imagine the noise of a screaming child. Play it through the biggest speakers in the world. Loop it over and over again...and you still won't get just how LOUD THIS WAS. I felt all of my vital organs vibrate. My eyes actually started to bulge like that bit in Scanners. I feared for my sanity...but, at the same time, I was rooted the spot, powerless to move. This is music as a weapon. A bloody great razor blade of noise tearing away at your insides, jabbing, slicing, gouging great chunks of brain out of your ears. I'm glad I witnessed it...I'm not sure what damage it's done though. Only time - and some expert therapy - will tell.

After Kikuri - and having picked bits of my frontal lobe off the ground - I tried to gather myself for the final assault. Gravetemple were up next. Hmmmm. I gave them 15 minutes. Didn't get it personally. I heard a number of the audience muttering about it being a bit dull. I'd plump for 'measured'. Maybe it all kicked in after I left. Interesting to see what others who stayed the course made of it. Limped off to catch a bit of Harmonia. Krautrock legends who seemed to really hit their stride after a couple numbers...but the game was up, Kikuri had minced me up real bad. Time for bed Zebadee.

After three days of noise, blood, Japanese madness, cider and very little sleep I'm still in a state of shock really. What is clear is that Super Sonic is a truly unique, special and fantastically well organised festival put on by people (respect due to Jenny and Lisa) who really, really know and love their music. I've been disturbed, intrigued and enchanted in equal measure. I've seen some things I'd love to see again and a few that scared the bejesus out of me. I've laughed, winced and danced (well tapped my foot a lot...I'm getting on now you know). Same time next year then?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Super Sonic Day Two - Custard Factory Saturday 12th July 2008


Day Two...let Battle(s) commence. Actually that's a lot later. A LOT later. First up Cath and Phil Tyler. I'm kind of getting Super Sonic a bit more now. Eclectic ain't the word. After Friday night's Japanese ragga, drum n'bass and deep, dark hip hop, Saturday began with some sweet n'uplifting folk and bluegrass. The heavily with child Cath has a voice that's as clear and fresh as the dew on a Spring morn. And that's fresh. I'm not sure her 'splodge' was lovin' it as much as I was, but maybe he/she is more of a Beestung Lips fan? Excellent stuff. Dashed across the site to catch a bit of Black Sun. Contrast? What contrast? Ahhh...that's the point of Super Sonic. It messes with your head. Folk and Bluegrass to death metal (apologies to Black Sun if they aren't death metal, but like I said yesterday I'm in unfamiliar territory here) in 60 seconds. Caught a bit of The Owl Service, good, harmony heavy folk, then whizzed back over to the Space 2 Stage for The Courtesy Group who were, as ever, magnificent. Rising to the challenge of playing to a pretty decent audience (their biggest ever?), the band, and Al in particular, owned the place. He did his trademark wandering around the audience bit and interspersed the songs with his poems. Isn't there something Shakesperian about him? Maybe that's just me. Who knows, perhaps in the dim and distant future there'll be a GCSE in the poetry of The Courtesy Group. School groups will be transported to the site of Ye Olde Hare and Hounds on field trips. There'll be animatronic versions of the band performing their hits...see what happens when I don't get enough sleep.

You'll note I don't make too many comments on some of the heavier stuff I witnessed. That's not to say I didn't like some or all of it. I'm just not sure I've yet found the right frame of mind to fully appreciate the 'sound'. Which again kind of reinforces the point of the whole Super Sonic deal. Try something new, you might like it. If you don't, well, at least it gives you something to tell the grandkids. Speaking of which...did anyone else out there catch Justice Yeldham (pictured)? Get this...the guy plays a large shard of glass by blowing on it, sucking it, biting it...yes...biting it. It's hooked up to some kind of pick-up, then the noise is routed to a distortion belt. It sounds like satan in a really, really pissed off mood. The more he 'plays' the more the grass gets broken up, the more blood flows, the dirtier the sound gets. I have to say it's a pretty disturbing sight, but absolutely fascinating to watch and listen to. Few things strike me as being unique these days...Justice Yeldham is one of them though. The set ended with Justice (who was barefoot for the whole performance) smashing what was left of the glass in his own face. The conversation I overheard between a medic (who'd been summoned to the stage by an anxious security guard) was priceless. Suffice to say he was less than impressed by Mr Yeldham and kept repeating what he'd just seen as if he couldn't believe his own eyes 'What was he doing...he just smashed glass in his face...what's he thinking...glass...in his own face...glass...in his face...'. Made me chuckle anyway. Health and Safety be damned. I couldn't resist talking to our Justice briefly afterwards. What do you say to a guy covered in his own blood and splinters of someone's front window? After finding out he was from Sydney I asked him the bloody obvious question 'Does it hurt?'. 'Stings a bit afterwards' he replied. I'm available for chat shows if anyone else needs my brilliant interviewing skills...

What next? Oh yes. A snatch of Thrones...one man...loads of fx...and a lot of noise. Then off to Efterklang. They were, as predicted by Russ L, an absolute treat. A happier Sigur Ros, shades of Foals in places and the same kind of uplifting feel I got from Yeasayer. The band are a sweet as a puppy with pigtails, the music makes the soul soar and the crowd gave them the biggest round of applause of the weekend so far. Glorious.

It's contrast time again. Oxbow. The band's first release is actually one of my favourite phrases...'Fuckfest'. Just about sums up life really. Sums up the music too, but in a good way. Lead Ox, Niko, seems to have a penchant for performing in his pants. Turns out to be a handy place to store his microphone too. Musically it's a heavy, sweaty, potent mix of ominous guitars, clattering drums and Eugene's primal (with a dash of real soul) howl.

Think I saw some of The Heads next (Oxbow made me go a bit blurry), then back to Space 2 for Fuck Buttons, which is the perfect name for a band that fucks about with buttons (of the electronic kind). Electronically bonkers. One minute there's some sweet little bleeping going on, the next one of 'em is screaming his head off down a kiddies microphone. The kind of music you want to play on a Monday morning at work.

Still with me? I'm not sure I am. To wrap up, Battles. One of the few bands I'd heard off and, predictably, more in my 'comfort zone' (if a use that phrase again will you please kill me?). A less vocal, slighty more edgy Foals. Very much focused on the ferocious drumming of John Stanier who showed a Budgie (The Creatures and Banshees drummer) like energy. Atlas was astonishingly good, like a nursery rhyme sung by a demented child, all backed by Adam and the Ants and Brian Eno. Towards the end my brain felt like a well kicked football. Serves me right for standing at the front all day I guess, but I managed to stagger off to catch a bit of Harvey Milk. Heavy. Very heavy. That's as much as I can muster right now. Day three here I come...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Super Sonic Day (night) One - Custard Factory Friday 11th July 2008


Comfort zone...I hate that phrase...it's always used by empty headed fuckwits who think they're more important than they really are...so, tonight I was out of my comfort zone then...yes...it's Super Sonic 2008. I've a bit of a dodgy history with Super Sonic. We'll I've only been once, back in 2005, drawn by PTV3. Just as they were about to come on stage there was a bomb scare and the whole of Birmingham was evacuated. You couldn't make it up. The last couple of years I've just not made it for some reason. Perhaps because this isn't my usual musical territory. I've got fairly eclectic tastes but a fair degree of Super Sonic seems to veer towards the noisier side of experimentation. However, mindful of the old adage that travel broadens the mind (so musical 'travel' has got to be a good thing too, right?) I'm plunging myself into three days of sludgecore, gabbathrash and raggadub...or something like that. First up Cutting Pink With Knives, playing their last ever gig (in the UK at least). I have to say I've rarely laughed so much at a gig in my life. Lead Cutter, Edi I think his name is, has a great future career in stand up. Think a less angry, slightly camper, Jewish Bill Hicks. The songs lasted about 60 seconds each, but beneath the thrashy noise and 180mph screaming there's actually a threat of melody. Please don't expect any great musical insights over these three days. I'm sure there are plenty of reference points for who the band sound like, but I'm fucked if I know any of them. Anyway, Edi thrashed about like a whackjob, leaping off the stage into the crowd (a leap of about 8 feet), at one point he was carried off into the middle of the throng and nearly, in his words, 'ass raped'. Quote of the night belongs to him 'this was a single once...now it's just a pile of shit'. Actually it was rather glorious. A soundtrack to mass murder. Highlight of the festival so far.

I do like a bit of Japenese music. Whatever the genre, they take it very seriously. So tonight I was looking forward to the Osaka Takeover. Bit of a struggle getting into the Factory room, so I missed Drumiz, but I caught a bit of the incredibly loud and shouty (nothing to do with Osaka whatsoever) Rolo Tomassi instead outside. They were loud and shouty. I did manage to make Dokkebi Q though. I'll call them Jaggapop (that's Japanese Ragga Pop - see the beauty of Super Sonic is that you can invent all sorts of crazy genres and no one can really argue with you...go on, you try...let's see how many genres we can start by Monday morning eh?). Great phat dubby beats, a bit of Drum n'Bass and some random old skool computer game sound FX. Listen to HardcoreCherryBonbon and you'll see what I mean. In a word...Jahpan.

Back out into the courtyard area for a bit of PCM - pure, high class Drum n' Bass that sent a sizable portion of the crowd absolutely radio rental, then back into the Factory space for Bogulta. Japanese Death Metal? I think that kind of covers it. A singing drummer who should be locked up for drum kit abuse and a thrashy guitarist singing songs about the end of the world...probably. It certainly sounded like it.

Finally, for me anyway, Dalek (pictured) They actually have two dots over the 'a'...so it's 'die-a-leck'...nice touch. I've seen them classed as shoegaze rap, not a bad description. There's some heavy, dark shit going on here. Bits of Aphex Twin, Tricky, Portishead, J5, Spearhead...all sorts of cool stuff...you'd be there for weeks sample spotting. It's refreshing to see (and hear) a different slant on hip hop and, if the world is going to end in a huge financial meltdown, which now seems pretty inevitable, Dalek would make a pretty good soundtrack to the ensuing looting, murder and chaos. Hey, enjoy your weekend people!

We left around 1.40am, missing three more acts, but this is a bit of a marathon, not a sprint and I want to be in some kind of a fit state for today's merry making (unless I get at least 6 hours kip I'm like a zombie). I'll be the one at the front looking blissed out/confused/scared/angry/hungry/sexy/knackered/mental (delete as applicable).

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Presets / Deluka @ The Rainbow, Wednesday 2nd July 2008


Midweek Kamikaze! Why not? Especially when you've got Aussie dance superstars, The Presets hotfooting it (okay then muddyfooting it) from Glasto. Actually my chums at Kamikaze! are promoting like mad at the moment. The chances are that, if there's a 'y' in the day, they've got something cool going on. Check their MySpace and see for yourself!

Anyway. On with the show. First up Birmingham's very own Deluka and stars of something called Grand Theft Auto 4 (what was wrong with Space Invaders eh?). Laying down some darn classy indie electro rock (with a nice dance twist) they played a fine 45 minute set that drew in the crowd from the various orifices (or orifi...I do like my orifi) of the Rainbow like bees to honey. Quite a few standout tracks, one of which I thought was going to be a Mexican dance number called Icantena. Turns out it was 'Ike and Tina'...a classic, bitter sweet, 'I love you/I hate you' kind of track. You can hear it on their Myspace thingy. Good isn't it? The lead Deluka, Ellie, has something of the Karen O about her, vocally and, to a lesser extent, visually. She's got that whole cool sassyness down to a tee. It's easy to see how they've become one of Birmingham's shining stars. You can catch them in Bucharest over the next few days...just on the number 9 bus route I think.

Next up The Presets! I was supposed to see them last year at Rootsville (what happened this year chaps?), but it got to 4am and Lady B had started dribbling and talking in tongues, so we left. I think they started playing at 5am or something kkkkkkrrrrazy like that. This time they came on at a far more respectable 10.30ish, which, eveen at my advancing years I can just about handle. For the uninitiated, there's two of 'em. Drummer and keyboardist Kim and vocalist/keyboardist Julian. If you don't recognise the band's name you'll probably know their biggest hit to date 'Are You The One' as it seemed to feature in ooodles of comps and mixes a couple of years back. 'Dance' acts, which I guess The Presets are at heart, can be hit and miss. There are notable exceptions, step forward The Infadels. I'm happy to report that The Presets are another one. Although I'm fairly sure there's plenty of backing track action, the addition of live drums and keyboards makes a real difference. Both band members really seemed to buzz off each other and the crowd (there was plenty of slightly 80's jigging about going on) loved it. Musically there's all sorts of stuff going on. A bit of Moroder and Vangelis in places (a couple of nice, almost proggy instrumentals in there), the other half heard a bit of PiL, I got snatches of Thomas Dolby, Pet Shop Boys, The Rapture, Radio 4 (the band, not the station...that would just be wrong)...whatever, it's all wrapped up in an energy fuelled, sweat soaked mash up that's as cool as a tinnie straight from the fridge (I did try to get through this without making an Australian reference...honest). One of the standout tracks from new album Apocalypso, My People, was simply stunning tonight. Like being chased down the M5 by the police at 180 mph playing techno in one of those pimp my ride kind of cars (with the big speakers and shit in the back) whilst someone smacks you round the back of the head with a glitter ball. Oh yes. On the evening that Andy 'don't call me English, ya bastards' Murrey got bounced out of Wimbledon, tonight was a case of game, Preset and match (oooh clever...I might use that). If you didn't make it, 'where the bloody hell were you?' (apologies for the second gratuitous Australian reference).

Thanks as ever to Carlo and George (Kamikaze! masterminds) for putting on another top night.