The Electric Ballroom Camden, Thursday 20th October
I’ve not looked forward to a gig this much in ages. Anyone who’s seen any of my ramblings will know that I’ve been a fan of the St Alban’s chappies since they first fingered a Kaoss pad, cranked up an SG and twiddled the knobs on a microKorg. So, in my bleary eyes, tonight was the latest chapter in their evolution.
Pint in hand, having braved the massive scene queue I plonked myself in the middle of the congregation and readied myself for the sermon according to the gospel of noise.
Talking of noise, LetLive are making all sorts of sonic waves across the music world at the moment and they were first up tonight. I’ve not seen them before, particularly love the track Muther on their latest album; so was genuinely buzzing with anticipation. So, what did we get?
LetLive. Fuzzy wuzzy was a bear.
Energy? Tick. Big noise? Tick. Crowd interaction? Tick. Big tunes? Tick. Fun? Tick. Good sound? Nah. A hard on? Sadly not.
Ok, they ticked most of the boxes and I did really enjoy their brisk and brief offering. But the terrible sound killed it for me. And a lack of something indefinable. Sorry to be so vague; all the elements were there, but they failed to deliver the full 120,000 rating on the Scoville heat scale I’d so wanted to scald my balls. Which was mildly disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, they definitely have something and I’d like to see them again, maybe headlining with a decent sound in a smaller venue. But tonight, it was like having sex wearing a thick, rough, itchy woolen condom.
Your Demise. Dull, dull, dull.
Oh dear. I hate to slag bands off. Especially bands with apparently good reps. But, tonight, Your Demise were bloody awful. There, I said it. The majority of the crowd in front of me would probably take issue with me. But, then again, they would probably have loved Bronski beat or a fat bird from Essex singing Chris De Burgh covers tonight, such was the infectious enthusiasm, consumption of Pear Cider and excitement dripping from the Ballroom’s ceiling.
Nope, Your Demise were predictable, sludgy, derivative, tired and, like LetLive, destroyed by the worst sound since Death Cab for Cutie at the notorious sonic graveyard in Brixton. Ed McRae’s vocals sounded like they were being sung through the thick, rough, itchy woolen condom. Unsexy. Unispiring.
Don’t want to say too much more. But I was so underwhelmed, it started to take the gloss of the evening. Well, a bit. Shame.
Noel Gallagher. Miles Kane. Nicky Wire. Ian Brown. Tom Meighan. Jared Leto. Gerard Way. Billie Joe Armstrong. Pete Doherty. Caleb Followill. And too many others to mention. Give up. Just go. Leave quietly. Don’t bother closing the door. Just fuck off. Right off.
You are all guilty of either saying rock is dead or producing dead rock music. Your days are over. Your moments in the sun finished. Move over. Diogenes once told Alexander The Great to stand out of his light. You fuckers need to get the message.
Rob Rolfe are ordering you to stop casting your prosaic, tedious and stultifying shadows over our bright new world.
Tonight’s performance was truly one of rock’s defining moments. The Herts boys have grown up (thankfully not too much). And are at the very vanguard of all that is good and great about loud and live music.
It is rumoured that close to his death throes, Mr Tony Wilson opined that the future of British music was is rude health and, enigmatically, St Albans was where it was at. Tony, you were so right you dear, bluff old cove. The future is safe. Totally safe. Oh yes.
Everything about tonight’s show was just off the chain. From the triumphant opening of Destabilise, through the trancy, dancy wob wobs of Motherstep/ship via a smattering of tasty morsels from Common Dreads (even the polarising Gap in The Fence sounded amazing!) to tantalizing tasters of goodies to come like the addictively brilliant Ssssnakepit, the crazy-arsed Arguing With Thermometers to old buffed up favourites like No Sssweat, Return To Energiser and crowd pleasers Juggernauts, Sorry You’re not a Winner and OK, Time for Plan B.
I was lucky enough to be at the intimate Dingwalls gig for Rory’s birthday a couple of months back and really couldn’t believe they could get any better. But tonight, my God, they rewrote the book. This was magnificent. Truly magnificent.
I’m so happy that there are so many great British bands around at the moment; Burn The Fleet, Lower Than Atlantis, Don Broco, Proceed (although Dan needs to pull his sodding finger out and get us all some new delicacies to gorge upon), Arcane Roots, King Blues, Pulled Apart By Horses, Rosa Valle, Polar, Max Raptor, The Xcerts, Midgar, Deaf Havana, Maybeshewill and many more, but Mr Reynolds and the lads are leading the revolution at the moment. And tonight I was privileged to have been present at such a powerful rally and call to arms.
In a week when The shitty sad old Stone Roses have announced a weary, cynical potboiler reformation, it is even more resonant and important that Enter Shikari are around to save our corporately exploited and shit-fed contrived and controlled A-playlist doused souls. If Gallagher, Wire, Meighan and their sad-arsed cronies, acolytes and jaded, morose organ grinders could have been here tonight they would have spared us all a job and been down the pawnshop or on Ebay in the morning getting rid of their abused and redundant Epiphones and Rickenbackers. Shown up. Embarrassed. Taught a lesson. And fucking humiliated.
Amazing stuff. Can’t wait for the new album and more live havoc next year.
The mesmerising Maybeshewill next.
More tunes soon. Bwoooar!