Saturday, 4 February 2012

Island of dreams – Lower Than Atlantis Live – The Garage

Lower Than Atlantis*****

Sights and Sounds*****

The Relentless Garage  27th January 2012

There are defining moments in rock and roll that you kind of know are going to happen before they sneak up and grab you by the salty, sensitive bits. Tonight was one of those moments.

From the moment LTA announced their tour and, in particular, tonight’s culminating date, you just knew it was going to be something special.

The atmosphere was more arousingly electric than Lady Gaga’s latest 9” purchase from Anne Summers. A sweaty Garage was rammed full of hipsters, scene kids, plaid, beards (thankfully no tote bags) adoring young ladies, tattoos, fanboy shirts, industry dudes and footy fan-looking chavs with no tops on all excitedly and tensely waiting for something momentous.

But first, we all had to 'suffer' Marines and Sights And Sounds.

A worthy, gritty, acoustic guitar-led indie, alt geek rock weak shandy with no head. Three guitars wasted as the sound was frothy and derivative without a kick, albeit, at times, pleasantly harmonically infused. Not going to knock any walls down though. As a starter, a bit like a weedy and over-chilled prawn cocktail with watery marie-rose sauce and those tiny shrimpy prawns you get in service station sandwiches.

Sights And Sounds*****
A bit more edgy and fulsome than Marines, but ultimately, well, er, average.  Ok, a bit better than average. But not much more. A bit more groove and  bite and a much better sound from a benevolent desk; however, there was more than a hint of triggered or recorded backing vox which left my purist side struggling to be totally impressed.  Alright. I suppose. A large, crusty bap to go with the insubstantial prawn cocktail.

Lower Than Atlantis*****
So, the time had come. All the energy and anticipation had built up palpably. We were definitely on the verge of something special. But would LTA deliver?

House lights down, sweaty scenies in hoodies swarmed into taught, excited sub-colonies. Then on schlenked Monsieur Duce and the bad boys. And blew the living gonads off the place. And some.

Opening with a beefed-up triple espresso version of their splendid new offering If The World Was To End, the place went into castrated meltdown. Unbelievable.

It was slick, sexy, loud, dynamic, upbeat and totally captivating. And the Morrisey-esque latter-day Jaques Brel, Duce was smiling like a loon. How could it get any better? Well, a completely cock-ripping version of the tour-inspired laddery tale (Motor)Way of life ( from the top three album of last year World Record) revved up the pace to fever pitch. That’s how. 

The set never abated, serving up the über-energetic and butt-fisting brutality of Far Q and B.O.R.E.D with catchier than chlamydia beauties like Beech Like The Tree (including and audience participation chug-a-lug on stage) and the salutary warning narrative of Taping Songs Off The Radio.

This lot really are at the very vanguard of great British music and tonight’s stunning performance has done nothing but further cement themselves firmly into the very highest echelons.

A Foo fighter melody frothed the fan frenzy into a tumultuos and adoring pit before the main set finished with the raucous and ravishing R.O.I. Guinness. Pure Guinness.

For the encore, Duce returned to the stage on his tod and tiptoed into the spine-tinglingly brilliant and melancholic anthem Another Sad Song. There must have been a lot of dust in the place and some toxic airborne irritant that caused goosebumps and lumpy throats; because, as the rest of the band and a trumpet player joined Duce on stage to ram home the throbbing and tumescent climax to this modern masterpiece, there seriously wasn’t a dry eyeball in the place. Genius. Pure genius.

It then got a bit surreal and even headier, as Duce announced to the now putty-like acolytes that they had just signed to Island Records. Cue delerium, Champagne chug-a-lugs and more emotionally fuelled tears. To quote old Percy Plant, my face had cracked from smiling.

I can not think of any band that deserves it more. Duce is a modern day poet and spokesperson for a generation - whether the often apparently grumpy git likes the mantle or not. His lyrics are resonant, relevant, often askant and coruscating, but always enchanting and challenging. The music is original, intelligent, exquisitely executed, energetic and fatter than a bull’s bum.

My heart, by now swollen to the size of a cabbage with pride has been totally captivated  by this bunch of ne’erdowells and as the last ramshackle chords of the fishy pun-fest Deadliest Catch ring out over the adoring hordes I find myself vicariously, momentarily the happiest bloke on earth. Astonishing and brilliant stuff. 

Don Broco and Four Year Strong next.

More tunes soon. Bwooooar!

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