Brighton’s Concorde 2 club is the perfect venue for electronic nights that fall into the “left of centre” category. An appealing bill on this excursion to the seaside was topped by the lone swordsman Andrew Weatherall, with support from XL’s highly rated Zongamin and San Francisco three-piece Tussels.
However the night was slow in starting for the US beat combo – despite having two drummers and a bass guitarist they were still quieter than the pumping funk sounds emanating from the back room. When one track received no applause at all, they assured the crowd, “We’re only doing two songs after this!” Which kind of summed it up neatly.
By the time Zongamin arrived, things were looking more promising, with a louder PA, a packed venue and a more expectant audience. Dressed for the occasion in sharp suits and ties, they threw themselves energetically into album opener Make Love Not War.
Once again there wasn’t much going on visually, except playing instruments and a twitch to the beat, but the musical content was far more substantial, bearing some resemblance to a few acts – in particular Trans Am, A Certain Ratio and early to mid New Order. There was even the occasional trace of the funk of Electric Six, who the band have been supporting on their recent UK tour.
Second track Serious Trouble got the feet tapping and the hips swaying with its infectious funk, and they did even better with Tunnel Music, an outrageous bassline from Zongamin’s mastermind Susumu Mukai proving difficult work. The band closed with a cover of Brian Eno‘s Third Uncle, passing the baton on to Andy Weatherall who picked up the theme with a cover version of the same artist’s Baby’s On Fire.
Weatherall’s DJ set started promisingly, with some floor shaking and window rattling electro funk and house, mixed effortlessly and seamlessly. Instantly noticeable in a bright red T-shirt, he flitted about animatedly between decks and record bag, all the time keeping his head down. After the storming opening things became a bit more formulaic, with some tough yet strangely featureless house making the urge to dance less pressing.
A thoroughly good night of music though – Concorde 2 has a great atmosphere and for the most part the music was quirky and inventive enough to keep people happy.