Archive | April, 2011

Live Review: Imran Yusuf

25 Apr
Komedia:  Thursday, April 21 2011
Gangly and animated, funnyman Imran Yusuf is on a one man mission to shatter racial and ethical divisions.
While always running the risk of coming across as a clown-like preacher, it’s testament to his immense likeability and writing skill that his show is far more entertaining than that.
His Islamic heritage features heavily in the hour and a half set, he frequently quips ‘that one goes down well at the mosque’, after delivering some of his more risqué gags.
But it’s when he cleverly focuses on the universal subjects of identity and belonging that he is best able to make his point.
His section about living in the USA as a teenager does this to hilarious effect. He recounts in detail how he was bullied and teased, not for being a Muslim or Asian, but for being English, something he’d never thought possible.
There are plenty of other subjects he drops into his conversational act, namely romance, family and his career, but the common theme which is cleverly woven through the performance is his goal of uniting people.
Coming from many comedians, this would be patronising. But when Yusuf delivers it in his disarmingly cheeky and pacey style, it’s a joy to watch.

Live Review: Metronomy

20 Apr
Metronomy, Digital, April 19 2011
If you have an irritating mate who suddenly starts liking bands a fortnight before they get big, the chances are he was at Metronomy’s sold-out gig at Digital proclaiming he’d loved them for years. And rightly so.
The Devon band’s third album, The English Riviera, is nothing short of a revelation.
They’ve made a major leap forward by eschewing the chaotic, thundering indie-dance of their previous releases in favour of intricately crafted disco gems.
But don’t be fooled; a calmer, more confident direction has not led to a change in the live show. Herein lies the problem.
Love Underlined, the second song they play tonight, is the one track from the new album which most closely resembles their older material so it’s no surprise that they push out the beefy synths, surging rhythms and guttural bass with vigour. It’s intense and impressive.
They continue in a similar vein with 2008’s Back On The Motorway, “Driving at ninety miles per hour, it’s hard to know what’s coming”, pants main man Joseph Mount, just about managing to keep up with the band’s relentless pace.
So far so good, but it’s when they start to drop in their more subtle new songs that they threaten to sound like a one-trick pony.
On the new album, She Wants is a coolly restrained number, combining a laidback killer groove with punchy synths while Corinne is a hybrid of eighties pop and seventies west coast vibes.
Unfortunately, instead of trying to replicate the layers and complexities of these numbers live, they obliterate them by cranking up the bass, over-egging the synths and giving them the same live battering as their older numbers. It’s still entertaining, but you can’t help feeling they are failing to showcase the full range of their talents.
With The English Riviera, Metronomy are set to provide the classy soundtrack for lazy summer afternoons. It’s just a shame that their entire live act is still better suited to sweat-drenched club nights at two in the morning.

Live Review: Pete and The Pirates

14 Apr

Ahoy there: Pete and The Pirates

Audio:  Tuesday, April 12 2011.

Let’s be frank, 2011 hasn’t been grand. Everyone’s skint, wars are raging and natural disasters are more frequent than a Katie Price divorce case.

What we need now is a good time. And with floor-filling indie disco tunes like Come to the Bar – complete with lines like ‘he’s got good shoes, he’s got sticky fingers, dancing around ’til the carpet gets thin’ – now is the time for Pete and The Pirates.

Three years ago their debut long-player Little Death was packed with more sure-fire singles than a trainspotters’ convention and on tonight’s evidence, next month’s One Thousands Pictures isn’t going to disappoint either.

Frontman Tom Sanders is a born entertainer, careering around the stage, arms flailing as the band rattles through their set, which sounds much heavier live, though no less melodic, than on record.

They play old favourites Come On Feet and Mr Understaning but it’s newbies Little Gun and Half Moon Street which really fire up the crowd.

The former, despatched three songs in, marks a change in pace and thunders along while the latter is a slower pop classic, the likes of which The Killers used to excel at before Brandon Flowers forgot what a tune was.

Combining quintessentially English, jaunty indie-pop with wry lyrics isn’t groundbreaking, but when it’s played with a charming, rather than arrogant, swagger and a generous helping of showmanship, it’s just the tonic in these trying times.

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