14 October 2006
Last night I had the pleasure of experiencing the peak of a hype wave in full force. This particular hype wave is a category 5 “NME” hurricane-force wave; last seen on these shores about this time last year surrounding a little known band called the Arctic Monkeys.
I am, of course, talking about New Rave.
Koko in Camden was the location – although somewhere in trendy Shoreditch would probably been more appropriate – and the gig itself, featuring three of the most hyped up bands around at the moment, was (against all probability) excellent.
First on were the always entertaining Datarock. The only of the bands who have been around long enough to have released a full length album, Datarock mix the expected indie-dance-electro mix with a healthy dose of humour, which really worked well live and really got the crowd going. Their were some moments of pure genius – including a brilliant bit of saxophoning in “Nightflight to Uranus”.
As you may be able to tell from that title though, Datarock aren’t afraid of using pretty childish humour in their lyrics, which I’m sure appeals to teenage boys but means that their shelf-life may be quite short. It’s a shame really – if they were slightly more serious, they could well be the best band in the world. As it is, they’re merely very, very good.
Next up was Shitdisco, who – judging on their performance last night – have got a bright future ahead of them. With only one release to their name – the “I Know Kung-Fu” single – their set wasn’t exactly packed with recognisable tunes, but they certainly have a lot of promise. The aforementioned single went down like a storm, even baring in mind their regular drummer had been relegated to cowbell duties after suffering a rock and roll related injury – he fell off their tour van at 2 in the morning whilst dancing.
By the time the Klaxons came on the crowd, complete with whistles, horns and glow sticks, were so hyped up that they were moshing to the DJs so it’s no surprise that it really kicked off. The funny thing about the New Rave hype – supposed to be a cross between the original dance-based rave scene of the early nineties with modern indie – is that the Klaxons, other then their neon colours aesthetic and set opening cover of “The Bouncer”, have very little to do with rave or dance. They are, when you ignore they hype, simply a good old fashioned indie band.
That’s not to say that they’re not very good, though.
So, New Rave is really no different from “New” Labour – it’s just the same old, same old. I’m sure NME are happy about the explosion of “their” scene, but in reality it’s just the same alternative/indie that’s been around for ages, with a different recycled look.
I remember having a conversation with a manager a few years back. It wasn’t an easy meeting. Throughout he was leaning forward in his seat, rocking slightly back and forth, his dissatisfaction with the situation physically manifesting with every sentence.
We’d already talked about the problem at length, tried several different...
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