Category Archives: gig review
About a month ago we went to a rather enjoyable night in Sheffield self deprecatingly titled Krapfest. This seems to be a yearly thing by Sheffield electropop covers act Krapwerk. We were initially at little skeptical about going to see a covers band as we feel acts should concentrate on writing their own music rather than relying on successes from other people’s music. But hey it was a free event and another band we rather like called The Silent Age were playing so why not?
Pilosa are a three piece electro outfit from Sheffield who wear their LCD Soundsystem influences quite proudly on their sleeves. When they are wearing things with sleeves that is and not just t-shirts. Which they are here. Obviously.
We’re not really normally quite into the more funky hip hop inspired sound that Pilosa do but yet there is something awfully infectious and appealing about it in this instance. There’s a clear glee and enthusiasm bursting from them about what they’re doing and frankly bags of musicianship and professionalism. Such qualities are hard to resist, alongside some actually really rather catchy tunes.
Here’s a couple of videos we took of them from last saturday night so why not have a look for yourself to see the enjoyment that can be had.
It’s long been the case that Tokyo Witch Hunt have been one of our favourite artists. There’s just something incredible and masterful about the way maestro Izzie Kirk puts together a song that really gets into our bone marrow. Songs that are frequently as danceable as they are deep, as singalong as they are soulful. She’s also got great style in the live performance too as you’ll see here when Tokyo Witch Hunt headlined the K Box Stage at the Live in Barnsley Festival.
On this special occasion Ash, her usual bass player, was unable to make it so Faye of Berlyn Trilogy kindly stepped in on bass guitar duties to great effect.
Here she is joined by Faye of Berlyn Trilogy
Was it a moment of weakness or a moment of madness that caused D.E.F. to attend this gig? With little more than a week to go the compulsion to be there became too much and attendance was paid for and hotel booked. After all we were already in London for Acthung! Achtung! the night before this event so it’s not so terribly much further to go to Southampton from London right? Well it was 2h30m on the train going which was actually longer than it takes to get from Doncaster to London but never mind. The journey back proved problematic in booking as various different prices were being spewed out by online ticket sales which when clicked through to rarely appeared. Ultimately a day return had to be purchased from Southampton to London rather than a single, which saved £25 on the fare. Daft.
But anyway buried deep within the concrete metropolis that is Southampton was a rather unassuming little venue that looked little more than a house from the outside – Talking Heads and just next door was our hotel. Which was handly but that’s by the by. Who would have known it would house such glorious electronic music. Due to our immense fame and celebrity status we were allowed in a little early just as John Costello was finishing his soundcheck and Jane of Vile Electrodes (wearing a rather fetching Jan Doyle Band t-shirt) was putting out merchandise. Vile Electrodes do have some decidedly pretty T-shirts you know, you should buy one. Anway on with stuff about the gig though anyway.
The venue was a largely square shaped place, stage ahead of you as you enter the door but with a fair bit of space to either side, particularly the left. Raised seating and tables around the sides except the left where a bar stocked with a decent variety of drinks was placed. A clean, modern and presentable place. Rather than the decaying victoriana of the Aces and Eights bar in London the night before. Frankly it could have done with a bit more personality but never mind, fairly irrelevant. Shall we get on to the performance though eh?
John Costello was up first and frankly nothing could have prepared us for this experience. We’d seen him setting up in soundcheck and doing a little bit of a performance but the full blown live performance was nothing short of wonderful. First the band all came on in matching black button up jackets, adding cohesion to the whole ‘band’ idea. John’s music really connected live and sounded brilliant but most of all the manner in which he put over the was the vital aspect – he looked and felt like he really meant business. Excitement built throughout a brilliant set John often left the stage to connect with the audience more, enervate and excite seemed the M.O. here. The rousing rendition of Lock, Load, Aim, Fire! at the end of the set just blew the roof off. Really it’s pretty hard to fully describe how incredibly exciting the show was, unexpectedly so really. John was looking lean and mean and clearly out to take no prisoners this evening. Sadly this he announced would be his last John Costello gig. Would there be other projects under different names in future? If there are will they be as exciting as this? Who knows only time will tell. We hope so that’s for sure. We are gutted though that we didn’t catch on earlier…
Vile Electrodes delivered a brave performance of almost entirely new material but thankfully Vile Electrodes being what they are means that it’s all excellent. We particularly enjoyed the track we later found out was ‘New Shoots In The Snow’ and ‘Half Life’. The former displays Martin’s ridiculous talent for more than just synths as he displays brilliant drumming with a particularly effective repeated roll throughout the song. Half Life is a mesmerising sparse subtle ballad that brings everything down into stillness and slow motion in a way that only Vile Electrodes can do. The new material seems to be heading toward a more dance oriented direction but is as compulsive as anything they have ever done in the past. It really starts to feel like there is more cohesion and connection between the tracks in this material, presumably with it having been written over a shorter period of time. Simply from a technical standpoint the show is stunning with the wrangling of so many many many synths… a dream to witness for any synthesiser nerd. There is such precision and professionalism here that is incomparable to any other artist around.
Tenek finished off the evening with their usual confident showmanship. The audience were clearly there for this and just as much for the new album tracks as the classics like Blinded By You (our favourite we have to say). Both Geoff and Pete always put everything into their shows and the vibe you experience at them is wonderful – that connection between fans and band is such a swirl of happiness and excitement. There’s little wonder the likes of Republica and Toyah ask them to join them on their tours, great people with a sound that clearly resounds in people – not a single person in the venue was not on their feet. Of the new material played we’d probably pick Imitation of Life as our favourite, it’s quite often it’s found its way to being an earworm with its irresistible chorus. Sadly we didn’t get any video of their performance as our phone ran out of power. Ooops. Anyway it’s worth noting how seamless it is that the new tracks fit in with the old in their set.
As The World Stops Revolving
A Chemical Haunting
This was rather a big deal for our friends Revival Synth being rather big fans of Shiny Darkness so they were considerably involved in the promotion side for this event. They must feel incredibly proud after the success that resulted from all the efforts. What a super sized crowd was there that night. And what atmosphere!
Berlyn Trilogy kicked off the night with a great set of songs and really got the audience pumped and excited with a great selection of their classic songs (and despite a slight tech issue which causing the bass sounds to be too loud in the mix). Simon seeming to be really coming into his own as the front man with some cool moves on stage and some great interaction with the audience. He seems so much more relaxed in the role than when we first saw him take over the job. Their cover of Atomic is really quite something to behold (and you can still download it for free from our label’s compilation of covers from Halloween last year) and Tokyo Rooftops always ignites the place live – though an extended version would be nice! Admittedly we’re a little disappointed to not hear anything new from them in this new era. Hopefully soon… it will be interesting to find what voice the band find without Dorian.
Pulse combine a certain indie rock sensibility with dancepop. Howard still largely taking up a vocal role but now also playing guitar and in case you’re worried it restricts that fabulous performer we know and love, don’t worry it doesn’t! Howard is still the engaging front man he always has beeen. While Sebastien tends to take the more keyboards at the back role, he does take the front man role on some songs and if you know Shiny Darkness, you’ll know he’s another great front man. Pumping beats and rocking guitar everyone was on their feet dancing in this set.
Eurasianeyes were up next and kicked off with their stormer Far Off Land that we all know so well. It’s a song with such perfect melody and structure you really could easily have believed it an Ultravox classic.
The audience were loving them. They are really proving their worth these days, progressing from when they played at their second gig at our 4th event in april 2014 and utterly deserving of this second to last place. Their songs are everything you could want, so full of emotion and catchy riffs. There must surely be even bigger things ahead for this band clearly beloved by this Leeds audience.
Shiny Darkness – The one everyone was waiting for and after we saw them at the Little Theatre in Doncaster last year there’s no wonder. It’s clear why they have their audience – handsome, professional and true entertainers. Such an honour to have them back in Yorkshire after such a short time. It’s not surprising they’ve recently been snatched up by a nice label. But really all we need to do is let their music/performance to the talking.
All in all well done to all the bands for a fabulous night and DJ Dave Charles for fabulous tunage and being a brilliant compere for the evening. But most of all Mr Andy Jordan of Revival Synth for helping with all the fabulous promotion and securing of a sponsor for the evening. His dedication and hard work for all these months leading up to the event has been second to none and it’s just so pleasing that there was such a brilliant size audience for the event. Synth is being revived in Yorkshire and let’s see where we can go from here… plans are afoot for RS/DEF to work together on a festival. Synth Yorkshire coming soon? Watch this space…
Gig review Hardware 2 @ Retro Bar, Manchester (May 31st, 2013) The Webb, Laser Dream Eyes, Factory Acts, Syd.31
This is the second of the new, regular alternative electronic night organised by purveyor of industrial filth, Kurt Dirt (Don’t know of him? Go here:Kurt Dirt’s house of filth ). The facebook page for hardware is here. The first night included Nightcall, Jan Doyle Band, Kurt Dirt and Wrapped in Plastic and was pretty spectacular (even attended by Vile Electrodes!), so obviously a second night had to happen. This also happened to be the debut public appearance of our Liverpool electro space goth-punk friends…