Deftones *****Letlive *****
Three Trapped Tigers *****
First to take to the conference platform are the bonkers and brilliant Brits Three Trapped Tigers. Theirs is a complicated and startling manifesto. Largely instrumental (with the occasional harmonic and almost operatic choral intervention), this is a technical, complex, tight as a coelacanth’s back passage, mesmerising and sensorially assaulting address which gets through to the very core of the assembled electorate.
Massive techy, mathy, compound and complex beats and phrases drive this campaign bus. Ably aided and abetted by sub bass wobs and drones, sweeping synthscapes and gutsy an filigree-laden guitar cadenzas. With heaviness aplenty to satiate and canvas the assembled rock-hungry community.
The voters seem to lap it up too. Although, with the exception of Betts’s over animated drum work-out (Christmas Fitness DVD opportunity Klaxon), the keyboard-based performance is inevitably reminiscent of Kraftwerk or Fripp and Eno; not quite shoe-gazing, but concentrated and restrained. Difficult to stage dive or hardcore dance while cracking out complex suspended chord progressions and wandering triads on a keyboard or noodling, tapping, sweeping and seducing a Telecaster fretboard.
Next preaching and screaming from the hustings are LA post hardcore darlings Letlive. Fronted by the irrepressible firecracker Jason Aalon Butler, they storm straight into a wall of noise to try and animate the now pretty much full Academy.
There’s no subtlety. No killer tightness. No sharpness. Just a blunt and sludgy barrage of down-tuned, well, mush. Only briefly relenting for the slightly more sophisticated and nuanced Muther with its insouciant, disaffected nods to melody and harmony and the brilliant, catchy-as-herpes pop punky anthem Renegade 86. Which is a shame.
Right, let’s get the cult of personality bit out of the way up front. Chino is the coolest dude in the world. Fact. He’s the leader of the party. The face. The spokesman. Hell, the president.
And tonight’s no different. For all 20 songs, from the crushing opening of Diamond Eyes through to the bile-ridden and savage 7 Words, they just play.
But it’s not the stuff between the songs that matters. Tonight’s show is a majestic collection of strong and subtle. Beauty and beast. Light and shade. Anger and ecstasy.