Sunday, 30 October 2011

Definitely Maybe. Maybeshewill and Lite. Live

Mojo Fury*****
The Borderline. Monday 24th October 2011

Love the Borderline. Great pubs nearby. Heart of Soho. Low ceiling. Good bar. Good vibe.

Oh, and there’s a Nando's nearby.

Enough already, let’s kick things off.

Mojo Fury*****
This was a gig needed to revive the spirits after The X Factor ‘rock’ debacle. The world is a sorry place. So thank whatever superior being there is for live rock and roll. First up were Mojo Fury. Third or fourth time I’ve seen these fellas. And been pleasantly impressed each time. Tonight was no exception.

They happily straddle genres. There’s an indie artery running through them. Some shouty moments. Good hooks. Interesting soundscapes. No shortage of classy musicianship. Maybe a bit aloof at times but worthy and energetic all the same. There are hints of the late lamented Oceansize, NIN and even Talk Talk. Interesting stuff. Not sensational or terribly groundbreaking, but all-in-all enjoyable and obviously talented. Sadly though, one feels they’re destined to be perennial support material rather than ball-squeezing and heart-captivating headliners. Nevertheless, the crowd seemed to like them all the same. As did I.

Right, next up were the reason I hauled my arse out on a Monday night. Leicester’s magnificent, melodic and moody post, post rock' (simply post rock doesn't cut it for these legends) darlings, Maybeshewill in a rare night out in London co-headlining with Japanese bad boys Lite.

For the record, they’re now a five piece with the addition of Matthew Daly, a real  keyboardist: rather than the virtual veil of electronic secrecy that accompanied previous multi-layered and textured performances.

Maybeshewill...instruments of sheer pleasure.
The new expanded line up totally filled the wee stage. And from the very first note of the tight and beautifully conceived and delivered set, their massive, emotional sound filled the sweaty, entranced, head-filled venue.

Yup, the heads were out in force. Which is wonderfully comforting for an old head like myself. It was like a 70s recording of The Old Grey Whistle Test. Without whispering Bob Harris or a quarter of Red Leb. Splendid. Well, apart from the absence of the red.

Tracks from their latest astonishing long player (I Was Here For a Moment, Then I Was Gone) like the haunting Critical Distance and entrancingly hypnotic Red Paper Lanterns are embroidered effortlessly into the vibrant sampler which showcases older favourites like The Paris Hilton Sex Tape and the mesmerizing To The Skies From A Hillside.

They are wonderfully tight. Seem to have ridiculous verve and energy (even more impressive, given their punishing tour itinerary – including a massive schlep form Ireland last night). And interact almost telepathically throughout their often complex and always soulful set.

It's all beautifully put together and is a deliciously blended smoothie of light, shade, beauty, solemnity, pathos, emotion and sexy naughtiness. It’s wonderful that such emotion can be delivered in an instrumental m├ętier. Gorgeousness. Smiles. Shivers. And no small dollop of vibe and funkiness. Love it.

Lite. Heavy. Lite. Dark. New Lite of my life.
By the end of Maybeshewill’s set I was concerned that Lite, tonight’s joint headliners, were going to suffer by comparison. Difficult to track down, I really didn’t know too much about or had heard too much of Lite's stuff. So was almost ready to head off for an after show cocktail or two having given them a courteous if not cursory listening.

But Holy fuck, was I in for a treat or what?

Four geeky looking Japanese lads who looked liked they’d wandered out of an Oxford Street Language School or crammer fake university sidled onto the stage. And fucked my life up.

This was something special. Something very special. Amazing playing, a tightness that I’ve seldom experienced (without being at all clinical or soulless). Such vibrancy. So many grooves. Such amazing technicality – without being indulgent or effete. Such obvious enjoyment and passion.

This evening's proceedings were controlled by an energetic wee bassist who milked the most incredible lines out of his proportionally enormous plank and a vaguely embarrassed looking fella sporting a Hank Marvin Strat perched behind a Mac Book Pro. Spellbinding. 

I have not one clue what any of the tunes were called. There were wonderfully understated and humble mumblings between tracks delivered in quaint broken English, which further warmed the heart and generated a genuine relationship with the fervent and delirious grooving hordes of heads - but it didn’t matter a jot what the masterpieces were called. And that’s what they were. Masterpieces.

There were genuine classical moments, jazzy interludes, dancy breakdowns. Syncopated deconstructions. Funky backbeats. Amazing drumming. Oh bollocks, I really can’t ably describe how absolutely bloody amazing this lot were. I was rendered genuinely speechless.

If any of you ever get the chance to see Lite, sell the family jewels, divorce the missus, cancel audiences with Popes, Gods and gurus, miss world cup finals and turn down ‘no strings’ blow jobs from the fit one from The Saturdays. It doesn’t get much better than this lot. They are truly astounding.

Going to have to give up the guitar though. They’ve changed my tiny world. Fuckers.

Obviously, Maybeshewill would have got 5 stars, but because I can't give Lite a 6, 5 7/8 will have to do.

Here's their vid for the wonderful Critical Distance:

And while I'm at it, here's a Lite tour de force:

Retro cock rockers Rival Sons next.

More tunes soon. Bwoooar!

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