Wednesday, 16 April 2008

As we jam, the rhythm gets stronger...

Last night I had, once again, the pleasure of seeing Alphabeat live. We folk up here in Nottingham have now been told regularly by the band about how we are the best audience in the UK. And whilst, normally, it would be hard to be cynical about such things, after last night's performance, and the audience's response, it may well be the truth.

The crowd were ecstatic from the first support act - the miraculous FrankMusik (above), pogoing, arms in the air, all bright young things. It was like a cast party for Skins, only with far better music. Frankmusik were, as I suggested, fantastic, and were it not for Har Mar Superstar's set the week before, they would rank as the best support act performance I have seen.

Next up was the equally great Leon Jean-Marie, filling the stage with black musicians of various proportions, but each with a substantial amount of funkiness. Apparently playing in the genre of 'urgent future-funk' or something, he kept the already eager crowd on the verge of aurgasm so that by the time Alphabeat turned up, they were ready to explode.

And that they did - the band started with Fantastic 6, but led into it with a four, maybe five, minute intro that verged a little bit on the Justice side of sounds. By the time the song itself started, it felt like the collective pent up excitement of every kid who has ever been to Disneyland exploding both onstage and off. The following ten songs or so were almost a blur - one hit single opportunity after the next until the last song - the one I knew had been coming all along (having requested it to lead singer Stine earlier). The band called back on both support acts for what was, without a doubt, the best live cover I've witnessed. Daft Punk's 'Digital Love', done with four vocalists and infinite band members, summed up what is right with the music of these three bands - in Alphabeat's 'Fascination' the band sing that 'passion is our passion', and it really, truly, is. Enjoy a studio version of the cover - still fantastic, though certainly lacking the live excitement that made it so pure last night.

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