Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Zero 7 gig review, fun times at new clubs, and name that dance track

Went to Manchester club Satan's Hollow for the first time last night, for their Punk/Ska night. T'was fun.

They played lot's of such music sure, which was fun as always. What was really appreciated though was the token nods to other genres. Just one song from most, but they were all very well picked. Any club is a welcome destination in my book when its playlist includes such choice cuts as these:

Muse - Supermassive Black Hole
Girls Aloud - Biology
Andrew WK - Party Hard
Bombfunk MCs - Freestyler
Decepticon - Le Tigre
All-American Rejects - Dirty Little Secret
Fratellis - Chelsea Dagger

Quality. Their nod to dance was fantastic as well, but unfortunatly I don't know it's name. Which leads me to:

Name That Dance Track

Because I really really want to get a copy of it. And heaven knows I've heard it enough times when out at Stealth and that.

Now it's not as if I can just recount some of the lyrics to you, their isn't any. So instead I've had to do this - record a 15ish second long mp3 of me humming it, then upload it.

First person to tell me what it is can win a prize. I'll email them a photo of me in a thong or something. But if you know do tell me, I'm desperate here.

Stream or right click and save-target-as here

I'm a quality hummer, me.

Gig Review: Zero 7, Manchester Academy

This review's longer than usual, as it was written for The Independant instead of Teletext. Not that they printed it, they plumped for a review of some BBC Opera thing in Milton Keynes instead, the spanners.

Like such similarly melancholic acts as David Gray and Starsailor that won over middle Britain back nearer the turn of the century, Zero 7 followed initial debut success with an unimaginative comeback LP. Then once again mirroring said acts, they returned with superior third efforts, only to discover that the ever-rolling music bandwagon has since moved on, now uninterested by their offerings. However strong they may be.

One would suspect that Zero 7 would typify the style of band that work better on record than live. Anybody who's seen the purveyors of Radio 2 friendly indie music Keane live will understand the phenomenon. Some music just doesn't lend itself well to the live arena. Unlike Keane though, Zero 7 to their credit, have an innate understanding of this issue.

Whether it be the sumptuous three minute guitar solo that sits at the heart of This Fine Social Scene, or the multi layered seven person jam-session feel to Throw It All Away, the first five songs alone seem built to face the aforementioned preconceptions head on.

Such a sensory assault is the opening gambit of tracks, one almost forgets star album contributor Jose Gonzalez is also billed to appear. The let up in pace he brings to proceedings is both entirely necessary and warmly intimate, and yet ultimately short-lived.

Four minute radio friendly slices from the album (ironic, given their absence from radio station playlists) are pulled apart to become upward-swirling epics, no more evident than in the mammoth nine-minute version of album opener Futures, which builds under expert pacing to a romping, hedonistic musical peak. It's typical of a performance that looks to surprise and invigorate its source material wherever it can. Whether by necessity or ambition, the result remains highly effective.

Much of the credit for all this energy should be levelled at long-term collaborator Sia Furler, a naturally endearing front woman thanks to her kooky onstage manner. She's justifiably given chance to spread her wings on her own classic single Breathe Me, an enjoyable surprise for those in the audience familiar with its raw, affecting charm.

It's not flawless; Jose's star appearance enhances, rather than revolutionises, a gig format that would sail with or without him. Meanwhile, any relapsed fans will have been put out by the overwhelming focus on the current album. Tellingly, previous back catalogue stalwart Destiny seems limp when surrounded by its reworked younger brothers. And after the bounding energy of the main set, the 1,500 strong crowd struggles with the entirely down-par, acoustic nature of the encore. It's such an uncertain end to a self-assured night, one wonders what logic could underpin it. It only slightly manages to subtract from a delightful show.

No comments: