Live Music + Gig Reviews

Miike Snow + I Blame Coco @ Tabernacle, London

27 January 2010

‘New To Q’, it says everywhere. But the two headlining acts on tonight’s roster at Notting Hill’s Tabernacle venue both have a history. Miike Snow’s is of their own making, but I Blame Coco has no one to blame but her parents.

So does Coco Sumner have a good chance of shrugging off the shackles of being the product of the loins of Sting and Trudi Styler? Well, she’s one of perhaps a dozen major label-signed solo girls snapping at the heels of Little Boots and Florence Welch who, in turn, were chasing after Lily Allen and Bat For Lashes. They now seem like old-timers, having successfully released two whole albums. But Coco (real name Eliot) is in with a chance.
She’s found herself a niche with her songs sprung with more youthful swagger than her competitors and in person she backs it up with an effortlessly cool stage presence. Swedish superstar Robyn‘s presence on the storming hit-in-the-making Caesar can’t be replicated by drafting in an out of place Plan B tonight, but the energy and production of the song is still the highlight in a set of otherwise average to good tunes.

Miike Snow have no such shackles. Their history resides in the success of the Bloodshy & Avant part of their make-up, the Swedish mega-selling production team most commonly cited as being responsible for Britney Spears‘ Toxic.

With the band completed by American singer Andrew Wyatt, last year’s self-titled debut album was rewarded with a fair amount of acclaim and singles Black And Blue and Animal received decent airplay, but it didn’t translate to record sales. Perhaps that’s why they’re still ‘New To Q’.

They’ve claimed that they never intended Miike Snow to become popular, and now that they’ve found themselves touring, on stage their numbers have doubled to six. This means that tonight there are a bewildering number of keyboards and gizmos spread about, making it impossible to figure which sounds are coming from where.

Theirs is intelligent pop music grounded in electronic beats, and as such the band hasn’t quite solved how best to switch between upbeat songs you can dance to and ballads you can’t. Long intros and outros on too many songs mean the set doesn’t flow and the audience never quite gets into a rhythm. It takes a while to get anyone dancing, and when they do it doesn’t last.

Naturally, the singles go down well with Wyatt’s falsetto impressing on Black And Blue. Sipping a cup of tea between songs, he struggles with volume on his microphone. Silvia also impresses, but on slower number Sans Soleil, interest wanes and people start to leave. It’s a shame, as the set ends well with Animal standing out as Coco returns to the stage and Remedy brings things to a close.

Miike Snow have the songs and the quality. But if they want their live show to succeed they’ll need to find a way to manipulate their crowd more effectively.

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More on Miike Snow
Interview: Miike Snow
Miike Snow – iii
Miike Snow + Niki & The Dove @ Brixton Academy, London
Miike Snow – Happy For You
Miike Snow + I Blame Coco @ Tabernacle, London