Ah, who to believe in? In this world which kills the great and the good, and the honest and the talented, who is there left to bet vital organs on? The Automatic? Hardly. The Fratellis? Uh, possibly not. The Cooper Temple Clause? Hmmm? Wassat? The Cooper Temple Clause? Three years ago, with two albums bursting at the seams with ideas and intent, you could have justifiably thrown that name into the mix, but since then, their sole contribution to the world at large seems to have been to provide Carl Brat with an able captain to help man his latest attempt to sail to Arcadia.
After tonight, you have to wonder if Didz Hammond may be regretting the decision. The crowd certainly had no doubts; there hasn’t been a audience this animated at KOKO since Tex Avery’s ill-fated “What To Do In Camden On A Friday Night” was cancelled.
And why not? The Coopers were always quite a proposition, particularly live; the bastard child of prog and punk, taking only the dominant genes and the best bits from each, and then spitting the results at you through a vocalist who sang like Liam Gallagher giving birth, so it’s pleasing to find that the time away and loss of members hasn’t flattened their ability to perform.
The new single Homo Sapien, here aired early enough to surprise those still battling their way through offers of low quality narcotics on Camden High Street, already sounds pretty astonishing, grinding and pulsating like Metallica being taught to gurn during a short course in Disco 101, and a good number of the other newbies already sound startlingly well-formed too. Waiting Game shows that they can do relatively straightforward with ease and no end of style, and All I See Is You – Squarepusher carving love hearts in a tree (with a chainsaw) – shows they can do really fucking mental with ease and, you guessed it, no end of style.
So the future looks pretty bright. And they also grasped with both hands the opportunity to remind us the past wasn’t half bad either: Been Training Dogs sees the band squash the entirety of glam into a metal box, and then pound it with sledgehammers from all sides of the stage until it begs them to stop, and the ever-so-slightly theatrical Who Needs Enemies? is wholly, and rather fantastically, reminiscent of the closing number from a production of Guys And Dolls by a troop of Berlin cyber-punks.
The only slight problem was how flat the mad techno rush of Panzer Attack felt, the euphoric pounding emanating from the stage not being reciprocated from the floor. Odd, given this setting and on this form, but in the end, it seemed more of a minor detail then a pressing concern.
Who needs casualty? The small fella who got on stage during the encore, if the ‘enthusiastic’ way the two bouncers ejected him from proceedings is anything to go on. But with performances like this, who needs anyone else, when we’ve got The Cooper Temple Clause back.