Saturday, May 07, 2005

Gig: London Calling @ Paradiso, 30/4/05

Why the Paradiso scheduled this great gig on Queen's Day I don't know. Normally I love to go to this regular showcase of up-and-coming (usually) British bands, but the timing actually made it a tough decision. In the end, I went for the latter part of the second day rather than the whole thing.

When we arrived, already tired by a day spent floating in the sun, Nine Black Alps were already playing (they were not the first band). We only caught the end of them, but they sounded good. But without listening to more and/or undergoing deep hypnosis to remember it better, I can't comment any more than this. Will try to check them out and give you a more informed update.

After this, we crammed ourselves into the Kleinezaal and saw wunderkind, Tom Vek. Tom Vek makes you think of David Byrne and a little bit of Prince as I remember. But mostly David Byrne. He is a little enigmatic, but didn't seem entirely at home - a charge I would lay at the door of most of the acts there.

Next up came The Others, the answer to the question "Could Echo and the Bunny Men ever happen again?" The answer is an equivocal "yes." The music was enjoyable but nothing to grab you by the shirt collar and shake you. But there was something likable about them, and the fact they hang out with The Libertines (constantly in the British press due to drug abuse and the more shameful dating of supermodels) they will probably do well.

New Rhodes followed in the small room. Erm. My memory fails me here. I think they were enjoyable but not enough to make me go into the room rather than watching them on the screen. The live editing within the Paradiso was first rate. It was so good, it made you think you were watching a video that had been edited after the fact. Well done chaps.

Next up on the main stage were the band everyone was talking about, The Kaiser Chiefs. Kaiser Chiefs sit very much on the retro boat that pretty much all bands sit on these days. They have a similar sound / influences / attitude as Franz Ferdinand, who also have the Germanic name thing going on. The Kaiser Chiefs took the stage whereas other bands had just stood on it. The entertained and played their upbeat mix of influences. Sometimes making you ponder Madness in their rockier moments. Sometime making you say "Ooh, The Jam." But mostly you don't care about the influences, but enjoy a band playing good songs well together. Everything they do is tinged with humour and some lines just tingle. NB This was the only band I bought a CD for.

The small room then played host to Engineers, who follow the tradition also continued by British Sea Power of chugging out well-crafted tunes that you can't always hum, but that you don't mind that they can last for ten minutes.

By the time the last band came on, the place had emptied out considerably. It was the early hours of Sunday, and most people had been out wearing orange all day. Plus the last band, I Am X, apparently fronted by a former Sneaker Pimp, were pure electro. Retro electro. A New New Order with a harder edge, but after a long day in the sun and on the booze, not able to keep most people from their beds. Your reporter included.

In summary: British guitar pop music in better shape than it has been since the mornington glory days of Brit Pop. They all owe so much to The Clash in the same way that Brit Pop owed so much to the Beatles.

Pete’s tips for the future: There will be many, many more bands with Germanic names sounding like Franz Ferdinand / Kaiser Chiefs. E.g.: Der Wünder Bars; The Auf Wedersehen Pets; München Gladrags; Heil Kevin; Kapitein Zensible; and Einstürzende Neubauten.