Last night’s gig was a pretty strange one.
In the run-up to it, there was a lot of puzzlement over the running order – few of us had heard of the headline band.
So it was quite a surprise to find that the gig, even before the bands came on, was much busier than expected. The merchandise stall was doing brisk business, too – but then there was a number of imaginative bundle-deals that meant things were actually worth buying (and in the ten minutes we observed it, hundreds of pounds changed hands!). In addition, it was heartening (and a little scary for someone nearing thirty) to find that the average age of the audience was the lowest I have seen at a “bleep” gig in some time. Certainly a rather more enthusiastic, and bouncing crowd, too.
Anyway, the first band were Ego Likeness – the one that I knew least about. On the stage were a female vocalist, a dreadlocked, heavily-tattooed guitarist…and that was it. The first, and most immediate point of reference was Collide, but without the style and drive. Unfortunately despite a few promising ideas, much of the set merged into one quite quickly and didn’t really hold the attention. I think our main problem was that there was little emotion shown, and even less in the vocals, which made it a little dreary. Still, I’m willing to give them a go on CD as studio trickery might make it sound better.
Ayria were a massive step up from that, and indeed were clearly a big attraction to a lot of the crowd. Jennifer seems to be almost spring-loaded, she bounces around the stage so much, and suggesting that she may well have spent time as a cheerleader in the past. The infectious energy from the stage seemed to feedback into a crowd that in the end were just as fired up, and the atmosphere gave us an even better show. Ayria may be a little “light” for some tastes (“bubblegum bleep” was one description I heard), but it was nice to hear feelgood music rather than yet more navel-gazing, and in addition the newer songs (The Gun Song and Six Seconds On All Sides) have a real crunch to them that belies the somewhat cutesy image. Best song of the set, though, was the closing My Revenge On The World, which had the crowd bouncing like a room-full of Zebedees.
And so the stage was set for the headliners, Angelspit. Following the reception given to Ayria, it was still difficult to understand why it wasn’t them headlining – although as soon as Angelspit arrived on stage it became quite clear. They have passed under the radar of myself and a number of other of my DJ-friends, it seems, but clearly now have an obsessive fanbase who know every word to every song, and were all crowded down the front. They have a distinctive image, too. There are just two of them, female singer DestroyX (no, me neither) decked out in fetching black-and-white PVC, and male singer ZooG (huh?) in all-black PVC, with a PVC mohawk in his hair too. All the music seems to be controlled by a laptop/effects unit, meaning it is little more than them singing along to a backing track – oh, with added theremin too.
Their hugely energetic performance – with anthemic choruses, stomping all over the stage, a clear bond with their fans – helped to switch attention away from the fact that very little of it was really live. In my opinion, though, if the two singers were able to just concentrate on that, with maybe a couple of band members in the background handling the samples and electronics, we’d get a better and more concentrated show, particularly as equipment issues made for something of a damp squib of an opening.
Musically, though, they are more (cyber)punk than anything else, with pounding, fast-paced beats and sheets of guitar samples, and at first listen there isn’t a huge amount to distinguish the different songs. Of particular note was the fury of 100%, though, and again it may have been easier to distinguish things had I heard much beforehand.
Either way, this was a useful glimpse of what the future, perhaps, of the industrial/electronic scene is. This is what “the kids” are into, the new people that will drive things forward in due course (and certainly so if they keep buying stuff at the rate they did last night – which includes a lot of CDs, and not just T-shirts). So perhaps we – as older people within it – need to pay a little more attention?