Silver Columns first bleeped onto our radar last year with the release of Brow Beaten, an exercise that demonstrated, entirely unsurprisingly, that throwing Donna Summer and Bronski Beat into a 21st century blender would turn out a sexy and subtly infectious disco cocktail.
It just took the one track to get people talking and gossiping about who they could possibly be, until their unmasking as experimental nu-folkie Adem and lo-fi Scot Pictish Trail proved to be the most underwhelming “big reveal” since Lady Gaga turned out to be a woman after all.
With that mystery solved, it’s taken a surprisingly long time to finally see them play live at what is their first London (and second in total) gig at Ginglik, a converted public loo in Shepherd’s Bush. With its facilities replaced with sofas and all manner of drapery, it makes a lovely venue if you overlook its past, a rule that can also be applied to Silver Columns if you have any preconceptions of either of the men involved. Because while it would be inappropriate and facetious to make any lavatorial quips, Silver Columns appears to be a massive change in direction for both of them.
It really is all about crowd-pleasing dance music now, and with the warm-up DJ creating a dirty disco vibe with the likes of Hercules And Love Affair, everything is set for what turns out to be a brilliant gig, full of energy, dancing punters and tracks that make you want to make a “T” sign with your hands and shout out “TUNE”.
The boys set out their manifesto straight away with Yes, And Dance, all squelchy beats and manipulated vocals. Even the chaos of a misbehaving Korg keyboard that decides to go for a dance itself doesn’t cause Adem to misfire. Their strengths are repeated in other tracks, all with strong melodies and a disco edge that lifts them out of the run-of-the-mill dance acts, and puts them more squarely in the category inhabited by the likes of Hot Chip and the DFA collective.
Standing almost on top of each other amidst a pile of keyboards and electronic gadgetry, the two of them exchange vocals in tandem on excellent next single Cavalier, Pictish Trail’s strong Scottish accent coming through while the two of them bounce up and down and hammer away at their machines.
For the bass-heavy Columns Adem picks up a drum and leaves the stage, trying not to take anyone’s eyes out on the way. He takes up residence in the middle of the dancefloor throng where he’s joined by his colleague bearing a loudspeaker. It’s a nice moment of community that celebrates them before they head back to round things off with the still wonderful Brow Beaten.
The album’s due for release soon, and they’ve been announced at a swathe of festivals this summer. It’s been a while coming, but now that Silver Columns are officially “here” their enthusiasm is infectious and worth making a b-line for if you find that they’re bouncing about anywhere near you.