Live Music + Gig Reviews

TOY + Filthy Boy @ Madame Jojo’s, London

17 July 2012

For the cost of getting to enter Madonna’s Golden Circle in Hyde Park (didn’t she let Vanilla Ice do that in Sex?) you could have bought ten tickets for TOY and still had enough for a beer.

Yes, it’s a bit like comparing apples and an fifty something woman who won’t stop showing you her nipples, but it’s an interesting thought. Value? It’s in the pocket of the beholder.

Although, score one for the underdogs, at least you could hear the music at Madame Jojo’s. Filthy Boy were the support, an attractive blend of louche, loafers-no-socks romance (think Paul Banks as Julian Plenti), twangy 50s slick backed rock’n’roll quiffage that Alex Turner would be eminently happy with and the strut and sassy pomp of Franz at their finest.

They were very good. But judging by the slightly weary way lead singer Paraic Morrissey dealt with the Leslie Phillips’esque cries of “FILTHY!” that followed each track, they may be regretting the name slightly.

TOY are not particularly sassy. Not once did they wag their finger at us and tell us not to go there, girlfriend. But they are perfecting the neat trick of getting better and better every time we see them.

And it’s still all about that groove. A droning, throbbing, unshakable psychedelic groove. Here, perhaps a lot more so than festival or supporting sets, they have the space and the time to allow those grooves to be fully formed.

So never mind the length of the setlist, feel the width. A version of Leave Myself Behind which seems to go on longer than some new acts careers, constantly looping back, a möbius strip of a track that seems to travel endless miles only to end up precisely back where it started.

Or the metronomic Dead And Gone, or an epic Motoring, in both cases Tom Dougall’s dead-eyed and disinterested vocals providing the perfect contrast to the propellent krautrock thrust of the rhythm section, the swooping Korgs and the guitar histrionics flanking him.

The songs work as drawn out and extended pieces. Normally, not being moved to move at a gig is a bad sign. But for TOY it’s a mark of the hypnotic fascination that transfixes you to the spot.

Tonight the judgement of how long each wig-out should last is near perfect. But, to sound a note of caution, they probably need to ensure temperance is not a dirty word. Too much swirling around the same place and the hold could get broken. Replaced by a general groove wariness. Fascination doesn’t last. Let’s face it, we’re like two-year olds. That TOY better keep surprising us, or we’ll just wander off and play with the box.

At the moment though, we’re hooked.

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