I really hate getting to gigs late. Pushing your way past the bouncer, trying to rip the ticket in half for the stupid woman with the clipboard and then depositing your coat in the cloakroom, all whilst craning your head manically to where the sound is coming from and trying to run at the same time. All because Foals are on first. Before Lightspeed Champion. Followed by The Twang.
Do not adjust your screen.
You did read that correctly.
In an ideal world the line up would have been different, because then I wouldn’t have been late for Foals. I wouldn’t also have to feel like I’m somehow subsidising the Twang’s Stella and Burberry habits.
Foals are Yannis, Jack, Jimmy, Edwin and Walter. Live, they make me want to bounce. They eschew the conventional idea of playing facing the audience, instead positioning themselves so they face each other. This has the effect of destabilising things somewhat, as it makes me feel like they are playing ultimately for themselves. I don’t mind this at all, in fact I quite like it because it just makes you want to get involved. And bounce.
Their set of danceable, technically astute pop was chaotic, as is the norm for their shows, with the band regularly crowdsurfing and jittering all over the place, but still utterly flawless. They played some songs that I hadn't heard before, including the wonderful Red Socks Pugie, which the singer, Yannis, informed us was about love and his one, shit experience of it. There is a certain sense of a paranoia which pervades their music, I can't quite put my finger on it. Their debut album, produced by TV on the Radio's David Sitek, is going to be one of the records of 2008. I wouldn't be surprised either if they show up Bloc Party on their upcoming UK Arena tour.
The three songs below are all amazing in their own way. Their next single, Balloons, is out through Transgressive Records on December 10th. You can get it on a variety of formats here. I'm a huge admirer of their artwork too, Tinhead is talented.
Lightspeed Champion has impressed me of late. I must admit I wasn’t the biggest Test Icicles fan aside from the odd single, and his subsequent reinvention as an alt-country / folk artist surprised me. I really tried not to like Galaxy of the Lost, but somehow it just got under my skin which resulted in a lot of play on my bedroom turntable. Sometimes it takes me a while to flip the record over and check out the B-side and upon doing that a similar process occurred. Waiting Game is superbly written in the way it builds up deftly, revealing its authors feeling’s of complete isolation and disorientation which leaves you in no doubt that the closing lines eagerly awaiting the end of the song are sincere.
It turns out that Dev doesn’t know how to play the song anymore, which is a pity but hardly surprising due to his prolific songwriting nature (rumoured to be at least a song a day). With a band behind him (but no Emmy the Great or Florence Welch sadly) the songs certainly have a lot more weight behind them as one would expect and I enjoyed the performance immensely, even if it wasn’t as good as Foals. I think that after the release of his debut LP next year, and the bigger gigs that will surely follow its success, Lightspeed Champion’s live show will surely be slightly more grandiose. The prospect of more instruments, more songs, more backing singers is certainly an interesting one. He is certainly capable of captivating an audience by himself, but the idea of a show with more depth excites me.
Finally, it wouldn’t be fair to ignore The Twang completely would it? I mean, just because I really despise them doesn’t mean I shouldn’t write about them if I happen to be in a venue where they are ‘performing’. I thought about staying, but I just couldn’t. The venue was emptying slowly anyway, and I don’t like empty venues. I managed to catch the opinions of this young Twang fan,