Gig Review: The Presets

The Presets

KCLSU, 19th March 2008

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So the Presets are basically one of the best live electro bands I have seen in a long time. They played a beautifully structured 90 mins, featuring some of the old faves (Kitty in the Middle, Girl & The Sea, Steamworks) as well as some of their kick ass new tracks that were greeted rapturously by the predominantly Ozzie crowd. (The Presets are from Melbourne and obviously have a bigger following Down Under than they do here.)

Coming onto stage to a nicely distressed ‘The Boys are Back in Town’, they didn’t waste anytime getting on with the banging beats and top tunes. The secret of their sound seems to be really solid beats with fat syncopated basslines, over which the vocals, big synthpads and solo keyboard riffagge can occur. It’s not a limiting formula however, as these elements combine to reference everything from techno to disco, and future funk to one track that sounded pleasingly like Seal’s ‘Killer’ from time way back.

Whatever it is, it got the crowd moving and kept them there.

Interestingly, during the first half of the gig a Preset played live acoustic drums, and despite my ‘views’ on such things, it worked brilliantly due to the arrangements and the high quality sound. However, it was even more interesting to note that the gig really went up a notch once that particular Preset stopped playing the drumkit, and started fiddling around with some analogue synths. It basically meant the percussion could become even more relentless, faster and more exciting. You know, more electronic! It also allowed for longer, more Underworld style developments of tracks that were basically as good as live Electro can be.

So – I’m still right about drumkits. Ha.

Anyway, it was a blinding gig, it was just surprising that there weren’t more obvious fans of electro there, rather than simply Australian fans of The Presets, if you know what I mean. Still, their new album ‘Apocolypo’ is due soon, and I think that will really raise their profile – if the word of mouth from their stunning live gigs doesn’t do it for them.

[Note: The Presets are on Modular Records, the Australian label who are also responsible for The Avalanches, Cut Copy, MSTRKRFT and Wolfmother. They are a good label!]

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