Friday, April 30, 2010

Darwin Deez / Goodnight Lenin @ The Hare and Hounds, Thursday 29th April 2010

Just a mile or two down the road from tonight’s gig our glorious political leaders are boring the pants off the entire population, spewing nonsense from every orifice and promising free prawn cocktails and a year’s subscription to Heat Magazine for anyone who votes for ‘em. I shan’t be voting for any of the three main parties next week. Nope. Instead I’m going to scribble Goodnight Lenin on my voting card and stick a big cross next to that instead. Seriously. I suggest you do the same. It makes a lot more sense, I’m sure they’d do a much better job and, even if they couldn’t solve the impending economic meltdown at least they’d be infinitely more entertaining to watch. I’m becoming a bit of a Goodnight Lenin groupie at the moment, attending all their gigs, following them around record shops, going through their bins...that sort of thing. Once again they put on a cracking show tonight, those glorious three part harmonies, the fiddle, the mandolin....the invisible mouth organ. Tonight also saw the unveiling of a new song, ‘Old Cold Hands’, with the Lenin rocking out a bit more than usual. Add awesome renditions of ‘Crook in the Creek’ and ‘Wenceslas Square’ to the mix, along with their very own tuning tune (‘autoplayed’ by the keyboard while the rest of the band tuned up between songs) and you’ve got the sound of a band on the cusp of great things...

I say, I say, I say...what do you get if you cross Napoleon Dynamite, The Strokes and that Fat Boy Slim ‘Praise You’ video? Sectioned probably, but that’s the best way to describe the all singing, all dancing geek feast that is Darwin Deez. Darwin himself is perm headed and stick thin with a penchant for 80’s thrift store chic and hugging people (the merch desk was proudly ‘selling’ hugs for £0). Somehow, despite all this, like the musical uber geeks and nerds before him (Morrissey, Jarvis Cocker, Har Mar Superstar etc) he’s just got the cool thing nailed. Musically the tunes have that New York indie feel, with tracks like ‘Up In The Clouds’, ‘Constellations and (pick of the night)the super catchy ‘Radar Detector’ reminding me of a slightly softer, quirkier Strokes. But the music’s only part of the act. In between most of the tracks the entire band put down their instruments and perform mad dance routines to old 80’s tunes like ‘Automatic’ by the Pointer Sisters or ‘Do the Bartman’ by Like I say, it’s a little like watching Napoleon Dynamite or that Praise You video brought to life, but it’s all done with so much innocent charm that it neatly sidesteps being naff and becomes awesome fun. Arguably it comes close to actually eclipsing the music at times (I’m sure some of the audience would’ve been happy just watching the band throw shapes all night) but that’s a minor quibble and who knows how this particular Darwin will evolve eh?

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