Egyptian Hip Hop...slacker prog anyone?
Nearly Christmas...ho ho ho. What do you want from Santa? I’m after an antique silver pocket watch, a nice silk cravat and maybe a (highly illegal) sword stick since you’re asking. I’m going through a bit of a retro phase at the moment. Oh for the days of tea dances, gentlemen who doffed their caps and coal powered gramophones eh...
From the very old to the very new (oooh cheesy...I’m getting worse) with opening band Go The Length? who got together about 15 seconds before the gig started. Actually I’m being a little unfair there. They formed at college recently and, according to their blurb, within a week had recorded their first demo. Now that’s fast. No doubt as the world goes all high speed interwhatsit with 50squillion megascrotes of RIMRAMWHAMBAM bands will actually spilt up before they get together, and release their greatest hits album just before the lead singer’s born. Anyway, what do they sound like? Surprisingly good for a brand new band. They’ve got an indie rock vibe with some catchy choruses and riffs, the singer’s got a really strong vocal that coped well with (I’m guessing) one of their first ever live shows, there was plenty of energy and I particularly liked the piano style keyboards (could’ve done with being a little higher in the mix perhaps). Clearly they’ll benefit from playing a load more gigs and giving the audience a chance to get more familiar with their material, but it was an encouraging debut.
Next up TANTRUMS. I’m not sure what they’d sound like on a coal powered gramophone but I reckon they’d be pretty good. Spunk. That’s what they’ve got. Plenty of spunk. Actually maybe I should stop writing that word...might attract the ‘wrong’ kind of reader. Then again, a reader’s a reader eh? SPUNK! SPUNK! Anyway, putting jizz aside for one moment tonight TANTRUMS were, quite frankly, awesome. The (fairly recent) addition of Anna Palmer was an inspired move, turning them from a good band into a great band. She adds a touch of pouty glam to proceedings, not to mention a delightfully cute (but ever so slightly scary) vocal counterpoint to Simon. Guitarist Stu continued his one man mission to demolish the entire audience, regularly plunging into the crowd then crashing back on stage like a wrecking ball. Bassist Josh was as cool as ever and Carl continued to provide the meaty backbone of the band behind the drums. Mixing dubstep, rock, synth, pop and punk in a dizzying party cocktail they are...without doubt...one of the most exciting bands in Britain right now. Fact. In the stuttering ‘If I Don’t Try’, the all out party tune ‘Mek Ya Feel Hype’ and the squelchy (relatively) slow burner of ‘A Little Guidance’ you’ve got a trio of hits in waiting that make you want to run up to complete strangers in the street and give ‘em a big slobbery kiss. If you...yes you...don’t make this band HUGE...I’ll have a tantrum myself.
PS: Message to the band...update the blogs on your website! I want to know if Stu's had any more mega hangovers recently...or what Anna's Freddo consumption is like these days.
Finally it's time for a little Egyptian Hip Hop. During my in depth research into this piece (hours this takes you know, hours...) I had a cheeky peak into the Hip Hop scene over in Egypt and there are actually a fair number of rappers doing their thang on the banks of the Nile. I wish there was someone called Diamond Giza, but the best I could come up with were Arabian Knightz (yep, seriously). Anyway, this lot aren’t Egyptian...and they have bugger all to do with hip hop. They’re actually from Manchester and on some of their most widely known tracks they’ve got a bit of a Late Of The Pier thing going on, in other words synthy pop with a bit of an old skool edge. But they’re not afraid to be a little out there at times, with their instrumental stuff in particular revealing a real willingness to experiment. Post Rock Slacker Prog anyone? If you can’t get your head around it tonight’s set might just have come off as a bit of a muddle. Kicking off with ‘Snakeboarding’, a slow noodling sleepwalk of a track, I could see one or two people looking a little puzzled. They were soon rewarded though, thanks to the heady pop thrills of ‘Moon Crooner’ and the instrumental (but still pretty upbeat) ‘Middle Name Period’. Next track ‘Heavenly’ was all dreamy atmospherics and slightly tripped out vocals before ‘Floppy Ghost’ fused complex post rock with a naggingly catchy guitar riff. Track of the night was ‘Wild Human Child’ though...a genius slice of funky electropop that sounds like Haircut 100 having a party with Vampire Weekend and Foals. I’m not sure what the encore was...the band aren’t much for talking...but it was another of their more prog type numbers that got better as it wore on, even if it did seem a bit awkward next to instant fix of ‘Wild Human Child’.
Right now Egyptian Hip Hop are getting shedloads of press and, to casual listeners who think they’ve got them pigeonholed as just another electro act, tonight’s set may have been a bit of a head scratcher in places. I overheard one guy say to the merch desk dude “Just tell them not to go any more post rock” which underlines perhaps the public’s expectation of the band and the reality. It’s their willingness to mix genres though that makes them a more exciting prospect. It might not always please the crowds but then again, if you can’t please yourself, you can’t please your soul. ‘Souk’ yourselves, that’s what I say.