Live Music + Gig Reviews

Shitdisco + Simple Kid + Friendly Fires @ 229, London

5 September 2007

The institution that is Club Fandango celebrated its sixth birthday last week with a series (sorry, fistful) of nights at the 229. The Fandango gave early gigs to those such as The Strokes, for which generations will thank them, and Razorlight, which is probably best forgotten. Finding the up and coming ones is their forte and, true to form, they packed Thursday night with promising newcomers.

Enjoyably noisy Fight Like Apes filled room two with their spiky, punky riffs. All the way from Dublin, they made the place their own with their cheerful sound and Jake Summers appreciating music. Even if their keyboard player does dance like a man handcuffed to a radiator fighting off a swarm of bees.

Friendly Fires were just as good, though they did remind me how old I’m getting. Playing like the weight of the world had yet to crush their youthful spirits (don’t worry, it will) they bounced us around enthusiastically. Have the ’80s returned to make everything all nice and electronic again? Just maybe.

Room one is where the wheels came off though – or where lack of wheels was particularly noticeable. 229 was woefully unattended, and the cavernous main room had all the charm of a school disco; a few nervous people standing around the edge and a big fat space in the middle which the smoke machine was completely unable to disguise.

A crowd smaller than the one outside having legal fags is therefore what Simple Kid had to put up with. There by himself, of course, cuing up his own visuals on a laptop on the table next to him, he has the auteuresque qualities of St Vincent without any correspondingly obscure music. Instead he played relatively, er, simple rock whilst pretending that the ’60s still live on, mashing his last track Average Man with Black Sabbath‘s Paranoid. He wouldn’t have looked out of place on stage with them either.

But most feeling must go out to poor old Shitdisco. They were forced to play to a noticeably empty main stage. They put everything into it – Reactor Party, Disco Blood and I Know Kung Fu should have been, could have been, all singing/dancing/conquering floor fillers. Instead they were appreciated by the 20 or so people who knew what was good for them on a Thursday night. Where were the rest of you?

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