Tuesday, June 15, 2004

The next wave of 70s-80s referencers

Bloc Party, Komakino, Black Wire
The Cockpit Leeds
9 June 2004

Local band Black Wire are three men and a drum machine who have whipped up national interest following the release of the debut 7” single Attack Attack Attack/Very Gun. The pseuds at the Guardian and the NME were interested straight away. Black Wire make a pleasingly dark funk reminiscent of early Sisters of Mercy (ie, not the later bombastic shite), local legends Gang of Four and the late lamented Big Flame. Their not-particularly-accomplished musicality is overcome by verve and enthusiasm and the audience are largely receptive to their efforts, particularly when they played both songs from the aforementioned seven.

Derby-based Komakino, whose slow-to-load website mentions without context that the Septerror 11 attacks coincided with a member’s birthday, are pretty much the sum of their parts, all pounding drums, rumbling Joy Division basslines and scything Chameleons guitar stylings. Essentially they are Interpol without the class. Having said that they are pretty entertaining live once you get past the derivative nature of their sound. The singer wants to be Ian Curtis too much, even imitating his lost control dancing.

Previously the Union, East London-based percussive rockers Bloc Party are banging all the right drums. Their website makes erudite reference to their abhorrence of racism and the impossibility of being denuded of context (ie, sounding new). By the time they hit the stage the venue was rammed and most of the crowd looked ready to melt. Your plucky reviewer was stationed at the back of the throng, with a pint of gin, in a vain attempt to avoid looking flushed in public (a serious faux pas in Yakshire). Live, Bloc Party have a fuller, funkier and at times poppier sound than on record with Matt Tong’s impressive drumming and Gordon Moake’s seismic basslines providing a solid foundation over which the twin guitars of Russel Lissack and singer Kele Okereke scratch and strum. Debut single She’s Hearing Voices was lost on the vast majority of the crowd, who have clearly picked up on the band in the wake of the recent Banquet single which brought a much more rapturous response and set the place jumping. The gig continued in this vein for an all-too-brief 35 minutes before the band left the stage to tumultuous applause and cries for more. The Blocs duly obliged and returned to the stage for a couple of songs, closing the set with forthcoming single Little Thoughts.

All these bands are making a then sound for now and one, two or all three will doubtless join the cannon of alt-cool soon. Don’t let that put you off.
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