The Lexington, Islington 26th July 2011
A free show at the very tidy and intimate Lexington is enough of a draw at the best of times. But throw in one of the UK’s best new bands and I’m surprised they weren’t queuing all the way back to Shoreditch.
There was a youth club atmosphere as Acoda appeared on the stage. With the singer, sporting a questionable 70’s footballer’s Shoreditch moustache A smattering of cool young things nonchalantly supping their designer lagers giving the floor in front of the stage a wide berth trying to look as disinterested as possible.
|Acoda...Tashes to tashes|
Undaunted, the band kicked off. Well, limply sauntered into a disappointingly derivative set of ‘heard it all before’ drop D grungy scene rock with the obligatory dirty vocal/clean vocal combo. Don’t get me wrong, they were pretty good at what they did.; it’s just there are far too many others doing it - and doing it better. Shame really, but on with the show.
Much better fare from the next act on the youth club stage in front of a rapidly swelling bunch of the Capital’s coolest denizens. With the added bonus of no daft moustache. A varied and interesting set mixed instrumental stretches with lively vocals and some stout tuneage. By the time their anthemic Last Night In History was ringing in the ears of the throng, the boys could relax in the knowledge that they’d done a great job and had won over the appreciative crowd.
The crowd had now completely filled up the floor. No longer a sketchy youth club with a couple of old blokes and a dog looking on unimpressed, but a lavish bordello dripping with anticipation, excitement, atmosphere and almost sexual tension.
The lights were turned down. The temperature turned up. The Kingston-based trio took their positions. And blew the bloody doors off.
The intensity was there from the very first explosive guitar lick. The energy exuding from the stage as infectious as the residents of Four Floors of whores in downtown Singapore. They pile-drove their way through pretty much their whole oeuvre including the magnificent Rouen, In This Town of Such Weather, the ever catchy You Are, the explosive Million Dollar Que$tion, the spellbinding genius that is Habibty (rapidly becoming my favourite of all their work) and ended with the spine tingling and haunting Long & Low.
They even squeezed in a frenetic and progged-up version of Smells Like Teen Spirit. While probably considered polarising and certainly a brave shout, it did the job. And some. Far from turning in his grave, Monsieur Cobain would surely have been marveling at the intricate polyrythms and surgeon’s knife-like playing that truly contemporised his comparatively pedestrian and down-at-heel grunge anthem.
As I’ve already banged on about before, Arcane Roots defy categorisation and are a melting pot of influences. There’s clearly a dash or two of At The Drive in, Ruben and Mars Volta, but layers of more accessible and melodic flavour clearly jump out. Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, even Rush subliminally infuse their intricate and intelligent offerings. Djenty technical playing and riffage add a modernity and intensity that Animals As Leaders would be proud of. But there's funky guitar chop too. In bucketloads.
In fact it’s all pretty much unnecessary bollocks trying to draw up a list. Quite simply, they are fresh, original, exciting, engaging and bloody brilliant.
Can’t wait for much more material and many more performances from Andy and the boys. Britain's brilliant best and a wonderful antidote to anodyne pretend rock schtick of crap like Beady Eye, KOL, Kasabian and all the other mainstream moribund toss. Halleluliah!
More tunes soon.