Sunday, 3 February 2008

Late Of The Pier - live at The Joiners

We arrive at The Joiners early - that's right, we didn't get lost - and whilst gazing at the magnificent tour bus we become massively hyped. We stand and chat in the alley by the venue when a familiar guy passes us - "oh my goodness", I exclaim, "I think he's in Late of the Pier." Our group grows as more friends meet us, bearing glowsticks and a transparent ball who will later be christened "Lopez". People come around with a mailing list, offering badges and trippy 'The Bears Are Coming' glasses which make everything like a kaleidoscope - it was like being Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. The doors finally open and we go into the room with the stage. We make it to the front and watch as the room floods with people - this baby's sold out. Music emerges from the speakers and we dance to the strange mix of songs pouring out of them. A high point of the evening was hearing 'Magic Dance' by David Bowie, and performing some magic moves, all while half-singing, half-yelling: "You remind me of the babe!" The first band enter the stage and they are not, as the posters would've had us believe, Swedish electrogroup Slagsmalsklubben. Instead we are greeted by a lively two-man indie band with a country/blues twang reminiscent of the late Larrikin Love. They are jangly, happy and a lot of fun. We've come to the conclusion they were called something along the lines of Jimmy The Moonshine. They're well worth looking out for as they were an enjoyable affair! They end their set by telling us that we are very nice people - there are high-fives all around. Next up the stage fills with a mass of unruly hair and skinny jeans - it's the wonderful Video Nasties. Their gritty, energetic sound gets the entire crowd moving and a mosh starts to form behind me. They open with lyrically lovely 'Gobi' - "I know that it's sad, but dreams are all I have" they sing, all of them thrashing about, clearly having a great time. And it must be said, the keyboard player can really bust a move. That the Video Nasties aren't bigger than they are is astonishing, as their music is catchy, intense and exciting whilst at the same time seductive. This tour should get them the recognition they deserve. Lopez the ball ended up on stage a few times, but fret not, he was quickly recovered. The Nasties finish off by coming off stage one by one, 'til they are left with just drums and keyboards playing the tunes. By the looks of one of the guitars, it seems one of them was actually playing 'til they bled. That is commitment. They are one bloody good band, and no, there was actually no pun intended. And so the anticipation once again mounts as strange, shiny objects are added to the stage, as well as some odd wooden-panelling. Meanwhile the crowd goes wild to 'Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough'; say what you want, Jacko made some tunes. Band members are excitedly spotted and recognised on stage, and as microphones and synths are moved we realise we are in touching distance of not one, but two members of the band(!!!). The band are wearing nice, but surprisingly normal clothes. The stage is set, and we wait for them to play, but we are left wanting. More music booms from the speakers and impatient crowd members shout, "Come on!". The band disappear and we grow weary, until suddenly some tense music begins to play with a deep voice speaking over it. The crowd is too loud to hear what the voice is saying, so I look around and spot some figures in bright white and silver walking towards the stage - oh my.
They look like they've stepped out of an 80's fantasy film set in space, it's amazing. And I want their shoes so, so much. There's Faley (aka: Francis Dance), the bassist, Ross, the drummer, Potter (Jack Paradise) the dancing synth player and Sam, the lead vocalist who plays a wild variation of any other instruments needed, including the wooden-panelling which I once read was infact part of his bed.
They launch, atmospheric background music and all, into a fantastic set in which I am crushed to the front. My friend who was slightly further back told me afterwards how she would've preferred being nearer to the back where the atmosphere was a lot nicer in the sense that people were dancing as opposed to moshing - yes, people moshed to Late of the Pier, it was bizarre. However, the front row had the distinct advantage of the ability to be weird and obsessive and touch the band - wahey. Having held Potter's hand a good few times, messed with his hair and touched Sam's arm and guitar whenever possible, the front was a lot of voyeuristic fun, regardless of the inevitable bruising. My friend thinks that some of Sam's spit landed on her face, and was thus astoundingly happy for the rest of the evening. They are a ridiculously enjoyable band to watch and dance to and sing along with, and this maybe because you can see how much fun that they themselves are having. They're actually like a cult, the crowd hanging onto their words like their lives depend on it. After they've finished the first song of the night, 'A Heartbeat, A Flicker, A Line', in which Potter demonstrates a fantastic routine of hand movements, the band look out, astounded at the audience. "We haven't done this for too fucking long", grins Sam. The rest of the evening is beyond words. We discover that Sam makes use of the seemingly random wooden panels for the intro of new single, 'The Bears Are Coming', in which Potter's beautiful synth covering is tossed aside. The synth later falls into the crowd, during a wildly energetic rendition of 'VW', a synth-tastic delight for the ears. After that, the sound goes funny, but LOTP embrace it - "You hear that Southampton? You've made that noise so now you'll have to put up with it! That's the sound of Southampton!" roars Sam. Potter is left to prance around, jumping on the drumkits with an absurd spontaneity. It's getting very, very hot and sweaty - "Why are you doing this to us Southampton?" they moan repeatedly, a twinkle in their eyes. "Super-sexual", they are heard to whisper eerily, an allusion to their pre-tour video. "We must be thankful for this heat," mutters Sam into the microphone, making out that their gig is some sort of pagan ritual...Which it kinda feels like. It's unbelievable how weird they are, and you have to love them for it. Potter yells that we should take this to the next level and set the roof on fire, and Faley attempts to start a rousing chorus of "The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire!" 'Random Firl' is beautifully played, and although I'd never heard 'The Enemy' I found myself singing along by the second chorus. They then start an impressive countdown which leads into noneother than the crowd's favourite, 'Bathroom Gurgle'. We all sing along in screechy falsettos, and when the moment comes, our hands attempt to get on our waistlines - it is excruciatingly hard when you are being crushed against the stage. Everyone roars in approval as the night comes to an end, and they are invited to go to the afterparty. So, what did we learn that night? We learnt that Potter is an extremely worthy competitor of Video Nasties' keyboard player when it comes to kooky dancing, and that there is no such thing as radio - Late of the Pier were our radio that night, projecting out their waves into the audience. They played:

The Bears Are Coming,

Best in the Class,


Space in the Woods,



Random Firl,

The Enemy,

Bathroom Gurgle.

High points: The atmosphere, the way the big smile on the drummer's face never disappeared, putting our hands on our waistlines and moving our bodies to the bassline.

Low points: Lack of ability to get our hands on some cheap wine. They left me with that feeling where you want to go and see them live again straight away. They are an extremely fun live band, I urge you to go forth and watch them. Here's the brilliantly weird new single:

Find tour dates here:

Go, go, go.

Photo credits to flashdan100


Anonymous said...

L U K E W A R M.

Anonymous said...

gutted you missed slagsmalsklubben. they were a real treat for the eyes and ears. better than the video nasties, but obviously not as good as late of the pier