Simian Mobile Disco – gig review

Simian Mobile Disco / The Whip 13.02.08, London Astoria

What better way to warm up for Valentines than a night of banging techno, eh? But it wasn’t quite what I expected, and possibly not quite what the audience expected either.

It’s not that the Simian’s were bad – I enjoyed it on the whole – but it was a different experience from what one would expect from having heard their crisp, tight, exciting (in places) album. Gone were the tight beats and controlled funk of Hustler, It’s The Beat, etc, and in were massive pounding drums, a wash of unfocused sound and by the end, massively heavy techno that would have sounded more at home at Trade than a pop concert.

There were many points at which me & my bro (a DJ) looked at each other and said, ‘now would be the time to drop in a massively funky break – the place would go wild’, but no, on and on the grinding techno went. I think extremes of music can be very exciting – for a short time – but if that’s all it becomes, it gets boring. Quickly. So, SMD went for fast heavy, screeching techno, and had they limited that to a 2 or 3 min climax/extreme and then dropped back into more dance friendly bass & beats, it would have been awesome. However, it wasn’t particuarly interesting techno, and it went on for bloody ages.

And why on earth did they not have a guest vocalist for Hustler, and the other vocal tracks? That would have rocked and lifted the crowd massively. Instead we just had the two guys nodding their heads over a bank of equipment. B-o-r-i-n-g.

In fact, SMD were shown up rather by their support act, The Whip, who were brilliant, combining accessible melodic hooks,with driving dance rhythms and a great knack for builds and breakdowns. This is much the sort of thing that L&I are moving towards and it was exciting and inspiring to see it done this well. They even had a drumkit, so I now have to withdraw all my ‘humourous’ rantings on the subject. Recommended track: Sister Siam. I don’t think they have an album out just yet though, but it will be massive when they do.
http://myspace.com/thewhipmanchester

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