“Your name’s not down, you’re not comin’ in”, so said an old rave tune and sadly it is exactly the situation this musicOMH scribe finds himself in on arrival at Camden’s Barfly. So after Klaxons’ manager has arrived and generously paid for my ticket, it is a stroke of cranky synchronicity when his young charges take to the stage and break straight into a cover of exactly that song: Kicks Like A Mule‘s The Bouncer.
Klaxons are a slightly unhinged four-piece with a love of shouty indie punk and an obsession with early nineties rave culture. This is reflected by a few lightstick-waggling fans, the odd blast of airhorn and the fact that one of the band members prefers to go by the name of Captain Strobe. If this all sounds like a horrible joke, the genius is in the execution and backed up by some strong material of their own. Part Supergrass, part Altern 8, part pilled-up punk pantomime, Klaxons seem to genuinely be enjoying themselves, rather than merely peddling post-modern irony, with frontman Jamie Reynolds looking like a possessed younger brother of Tim Burgess as he screeches at the crowd.
From the bass-driven jangle of Gravity’s Rainbow to the dancefloor squeal and manic electronic thrash of forthcoming single Atlantis To Interzone, they manage to prove they are more than a novelty act. Just when you begin to question what their distinguishing features are musically, a reminder comes in the form of another cover of a dance classic as they join rock and rave at the hip with a fantastic cover of Grace‘s Not Over Yet. Captain Strobe then leads the shouting for a bass-heavy, hard-rocking rumpus before taking a couple of dives off the stage to end.
While Klaxons certainly won’t please any chin-stroking musos they are all the better for it with their amphetamine-drenched performance focussed on energy and fun. Ones to watch in the sense that you really should try and see them even if it is just for curiosity’s sake.
With old hardcore rave hits playing between sets, this is not your normal night at the Barfly as is further evidenced by Joseph Mount’s brainchild Metronomy. Headlining with backing band The Food Groups, they look like a set of grown up Teletubbies with matching lights on their chests and produce a sound in Black Eye / Burnt Thumb of a bizarre, electric marching band full of machine-driven oompah. Following this up with a sax-led track loosely underpinned by the sort of hammersplatter beats usually preserved for glitchtronica acts, Metronomy provide an enjoyably mesmeric experience. Bright synthpop hooks and electro-rock eccentricity are enriched by a sense of humour that sees the band making bizarre pigeon-like noises one moment and strumming their guitars like banjos while performing synchronised dance moves the next.
As the crowd scream their appreciation, Mount says: “Please don’t embarrass us by asking for more As an encore, how many bands play a song they’ve already played?”. Not many, you imagine, but it proves just as infectious second time around, building to a mosh-inducing crescendo. A night of frantic, hedonistic bedlam where good music and fun were equally high on the agenda, just as it should be.