Mount Kimbie – Mine @ LUU (5/5)
Buried deep within Leeds University Union at the intimate, and appropriately name venue ‘Mine’, Mount Kimbie are putting on a show using a combination of live and electronic instruments. Debut album banger ‘Carbonated’ gets the ball rolling; the minimal, warm tones encourage a healthy amount of head nodding, as well as the inevitable bizarre sing along to sampled, pitched down female vocals. The sight is unsettling, but in the best way possible. With a few more tunes delivered with expert precision, its clear how much work has gone into their live show. You have to be metronome tight (literally) to start bringing live instruments into a electronic music duo. ‘Maybes’ from their their first EP is greeted with a huge reaction; Dom and Kai give all they’ve got to the final vocal verse as their waves of deep synth lines wash over the awkwardly dancing audience. Penultimate number ‘Made To Stray’ gives the dance maniacs one to lose themselves on, and like with many of the tracks of the night, they give it an improvised structure, bringing samples in when they see fit. After rapturous applause for the night’s closing number ‘Field’, the band – looking embarrassed at the wild reaction – take to the stage once again for encore ‘Mayor’ which starts with a long four-to-the-floor introduction, suddenly feeling like it’s 3 am at The Warehouse Project. This encourages the last dance off of the night and leaves the crowd in awe of how the visionary Mount Kimbie can execute a live electronic show so perfectly.
We Are the Ocean (1/5) & The Maine (3/5) – The Cockpit
A co-headline tour should be a unique alliance of two bands playing to a mesmerized crowd. Tonight saw an established and once superb British band We Are the Ocean put on one of the worst performances of their career. Sing as well as you want, play your instruments to perfection, however, turn up with no stage presence or impact while your supposed “front man” Liam Cromby gets a few beers in and is unable to really communicate with the crowd; you have some serious problems. For a band with 3 successful albums, two warped tours and numerous festival slots under their belts, a few hand claps isn’t exactly expected. Searching frantically for a highlight I would have to say ‘Confessions’ but only because it was delivered with the same zeal that it had under previous front man Dan Brown. And boy on tonight’s performance does he need to make a return, thinking back to previous performances of theirs which I saw just 2 years ago makes me think of a different band entirely.
The Maine fair a little better, taking to the stage with a great deal more energy and drive than their British predecessors and pounding out their own brand of Pop-Punk. ‘Heroine’ and ‘Run’ provoke a ripple of excitement from the crowd whilst front man John O’Callaghan does everything from climb the speakers to kissing a male fan on the lips. Despite the energy not decreasing but disappearing entirely mid-set, the American five piece manage to reel it back in with a heartfelt rendition of hit single ‘Inside of you’. Finishing off with a spine tingling ‘Misery’ the Maine proved that work needs to be done but there is certainly some support for them across the pond. As for We Are the Ocean – I think I’ve said quite enough, but last night proves that they need to buck up their ideas to say the least.
New Model Army, Bomb Whateva¿, Monster Jaw – The O2 (4/5)
At a New Model Army gig, it is needless to say that everyone is in uniform: leather jackets, military boots and a black t-shirt bearing the name of the band – or should I say the militia? – to which they are conscripted.
‘Monster Jaw’, who toplessly play ‘In Utero’-esque tunes, and ‘Bomb Whateva¿’, playing hopelessly riff-tastic rock that wouldn’t even have been relevant in 1970, are considered the enemy, receiving little or no response from the crowd. These middle-aged relics from the 1980s, alongside their sons and daughters to whom the punk batton has been passed, are committed to the New Model way of life.
Founding member Justin Sullivan strides out onto stage to the thunder of tribal drums, leading into the electrifying gloom of ‘I Need More Time’ from the band’s latest offering ‘Between Dog and Wolf.’ And unlike so many well ripened bands who release a new album to the indifference of their supposed followers, NMA’s new music is regarded alongside the oldies. The audience knows every word, which is testiment to the cult status of the band. Despite their age, members of this army create ridiculous human pyramids and stand on the hands of the rapturous crowd below, performing strange schyzophrenic arm dances that were a tradition of mid-80s alternative culture. At the sight of this, Sullivan expresses nostalgia for this iconic period, oddly adding that “it’s a bit like now.”
Maybe he’s right. Maggie’s spectre hangs over us in the form of economic uncertainty under a Tory government, and the north-south divide is still tangible. However Sullivan, a Bradfordian, fights against that. He gives voice to a disenchanted people. He even proposes Yorkshire’s independence. It’s not often that you see music played with as much zeal as this. Here is the extant spirit of punk.
photos: Factmag, Adam Gasson & Michael Grein