Can we copyright the term nu gaze, please? If not, can you please supply your own term to describe a band that, to us, sound like My Bloody Valentine fronted by Alison Goldfrapp? And if that’s not good enough, they finish the night with a truly wonderful shouty cover of The Crystals‘ classic Then He Kissed Me. What more could you possibly want? A free CD and a badge from the support act before you’ve even entered the venue, you say? Hoorah for Kontakte then, who are happy to oblige.
Kontakte deserve full marks for their marketing effort alone but, even better, they produce very pleasing drone rock instrumentals somewhere between Sigur Rós and Spiritualized, amid a set adorned with an old TV that broadcasts only static. This means that we can give them a good review all round, rather than an A for effort and E for achievement.
Unlike mid-set offering Air Formation, who are, sadly, boring and unoriginal. Least said about them, the better.
And so back to Asobi Seksu, the surfy, summery, shoegazey New Yorkers who are playing only their second ever UK gig tonight. That they’re playing it in so small a venue is simply proof that the world is mad. Or unappreciative. Or, more likely, that the sold-out crowd is full of people in the know.
Lead singer and keyboardist Yuki deserves more space for her animated and energetic dancing, but it’s fun to see them so close up. Why has it taken the UK so long to notice them? Partly because their first two albums were released Stateside in 2005 and 2006, but have only made it to these shores this year, thanks to One Little Indian.
Despite it being impossible to shake the feeling that they’d be much better suited to a festival dance space than a dark, tiny room in Kilburn, the trio’s trancey pop tunes go down extremely well. Strawberries gets the entire audience shimmering away to its layered harmonies and Thursday is another notable highlight.
Yuki’s high notes help the vocals to rise above the aural fuzz, and provide both the icing on the cake and the glue that holds it all together. By the time the set draws to a close, there’s no doubt that the next time Asobi Seksu grace our shores, it will be in a venue much larger than this.