Live Music + Gig Reviews

The Modern @ Paradise Bar, London

6 July 2004

After sitting through a band whose concept of a live performance is toexplain, in depth, the literary and philosophical background to each song,the plastic fantastic skin-deep shallowness of The Modern comes as amuch-needed refreshing blast. This is a band that looks good, have a soundthat couldn’t be more now and what’s best is that they know it. Arrogancecan be a very attractive quality in a band, and The Modern have it inspades.

It might just be a small bar in the dark heart of New Cross, but it’s ahome town gig for the band and they give it the full treatment withuniforms, compere, cheekbones and attendant Gimp all present and correct,not that you can imagine they know how to do it any differently. Launchinginto their current single Suburban Culture, it retains all of its electropop sheen in a live setting, the zeitgeist riding mix of Visage,The Human League and the Cure enhanced by a performance worthyof the description.

With two perfectly pouting front men performing like a cross betweenDavid Byrne and Phil Oakey, and a Marilyn Monroe down the Torture Gardenlook-alike front of stage, there’s plenty to keep the eye occupied, andthat’s before a rubber spiked gimp suit wearing fellow begins to writhe tothe music. It’s a show almost as polished as the music, and it’s been mypleasure and pain over the last few years to witness to a lot of bands thatfall into the synth-pop, electroclash genre. The Modern are definitely uptheir amongst the best I’ve seen.

Where they do fall down, though, at least on the basis of this show, is alack of material. Perhaps it was just a lack of time or a trick to keeppeople wanting more, but when your entire show is shorter than one of thesupport band interminably long introductions then it’s hard to judge whetherthe band have more than their, admittedly impressive, one or two tricks.

But, having said that, I’d rather a band kept it short and sweet than out stayingtheir welcome, and after five sweet slices of synthpop, The Modern leave thestage in the fine style they entered it. More suited to guesting inclubs than headlining their own gigs at the moment, The Modern are still anexciting prospect and definitely ones to watch over the next few months.

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More on The Modern
Interview: The Modern
The Modern @ Paradise Bar, London