Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Last night we went to the Louisiana to see New York band Radio 4 in action.
First up were two guys from Seattle called Plan-B, one of them keyboard crunching whilst crouched behind an i-book, the other playing a slimed down electronic stand up bass. Fairly pleasant noodling in a Boards of Canada type vain for the most part, although Orynthia had to move pretty quickly to avoid the i-book guy, as he leapt into the space between audience and band to give us his best B-Boy moves for a couple of minutes (very nimble they were too!).

Next to squeeze onto the tiny Louisiana stage were Outhud. Now a friend of mine who owns a record shop, was telling me on Sunday that he had been listening to an album by the band recently, which he described as mainly instrumental, dubby, electro. So we were both surprised (he was standing next to me at the gig) when it emerged that the band had 3 singers. I really liked them, they reminded me of either The Slits or Delta 5 (if you know those old, late 70's and early 80's bands?) mixed with early electro like Africa Bambaataa or maybe "Confusion" era new Order. I loved them. Great bass player, cello and loads of staccato keyboard riff's cut through the crowd like a rapier. One of the band gleefully announced that they were selling a CD at the gig but that it did not feature any of the songs that they had been playing (which may explain my friends confusion about the sound of the band.) After taking the stage to general audience indifference, they left it to much applause. I'm going to keep my eye's and ears open for this lot!

By now the tiny confines of the room were packed, indeed after nipping downstairs to use the restroom facilities, I could not get to Orynthia and our friends, so I decided to head towards the front stage area. Because of the strange layout of the room, (the dressing rooms are actually behind the audience, meaning that bands have to walk through the crowd to get to the stage!) the band were already on stage chatting amongst themselves. I got myself into a decent spot, just in time for the band to dash headlong into their set. I'm hopeless with song titles and whenever I rely on memory I'm normally wrong, but I'm pretty sure that they started with Our Town, followed by Start A Fire and I thought that maybe they were just going to play the album straight through. At first the sound was a bit muddy, so the crispness that defines the album was somewhat lacking, although the band were tearing into the songs as though their lives depended on it. Suddenly we got to Save your City and everything just clicked into place with the sound. From then on, the band could do no wrong, and the audience were really starting to appreciate these razor sharp songs. They played a couple of songs which were new to me, at least one of which was off the 1st album (which I have never seen or heard). The set built to a climax with Eyes Wide Open and Dance To The Underground leaving the band looking as though they had swum across the Atlantic to play the gig. As mentioned previously, to get to the dressing room the band would need to force their way through the crowd before coming back for an encore, they quickly realised that this would be a pointless thing to do, so after a quick chat a brooding and menacing version of Pipe Bombs, preceded the final charge through a cataclysmic New Disco. Orynthia is not really a fan of the album but she enjoyed the gig and was even spotted having a bit of shuffle around towards the back of the room. They certainly seemed to be a band that know that they are on top of their game at the moment and they are aiming to make the most of it.

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