Epileptics beware, these guys are not for the faint hearted. If a trio of silhouetted scarecrows stampeding onstage wasn’t enough of an experience, the light show that follows for the rest of the evening certainly batters its way into the brain. Masked in tribal outfits it’s hard to pay attention to the hectic noise rumble of ‘Flashover’ when it looks like Jamie Reynolds has just donned a carrot-topped woolly ski mask and will be carrying out a home invasion.
So if it’s all about catching our attention then they most certainly have. Thankfully, it’s not just interesting costumes and pigtails (that’s just the one on the right), tonight’s electro-rock extravaganza gives a fair hearing to both debut album and current material. Early singles such as ‘Magick’ and ‘Golden Skans’ hit the spot with the Skins-esque members of the crowd who show their appreciation with pint-throwing and poorly organised moshing, while the rest of the crowd content themselves with dancing singalongs. Half-way through ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ the track appears to stop. Amidst smatterings of clapping, there’s silence. Is it over? God, that was short. It’s been a few years since that one was on the radio but surely it was longer? Down at the front however, an enthusiastic group of fans have figured it out – this is their time to shine. As the song picks up once again, the audience provides the chant. And as the guitars churn for ‘As Above, So Below’, searing white light flashes before the chorus like part of some scientific experiment.
But this isn’t 2006 anymore Toto and while ‘Surfing The Void’ might not necessarily have been the album Klaxons hoped to release, from the performance tonight we can be glad that they did. Sure there are a few duds – ‘Cypherspeed’ and ‘Surfing The Void’ for example, the former simply unexceptional; the latter a clashing high-pitched filler – but there are also some gems that have the same kick in the auditorium as they do on the CD. Space-rock love poem ‘The Same Space’ has a sweet stomping intensity but, like ‘Valley of the Calm Trees’ and ‘Venusia’, receives a less raucous reception, more for unfamiliarity than for lack of skill. And the soaring, light vocals of ‘Echoes’ sound even more other-worldly in the darkness.
In the obligatory encore, it’s time to pay tribute to the days of nu-rave (except we don’t use that bad word anymore round here) with a screeching rendition of ‘It’s Not Over Yet’ and the genre’s theme tune, ‘Atlantis to Interzone’.
How seriously we should be taking it is never quite clear – after all, they rock out those rhythms with all the determination and straight-faced concentration in the world, but one of them looks like he’s dressed as Fred Flinstone. Still, after a performance like that, State’s not really sure if we care. Fun, flamboyant rock. Likelihood of band turning into overdramatized Muse-esque divas? We won’t bet against it just yet.
Picture from Flickr.