It’s near ten o clock by the time Serena Maneesh arrive on stage as the final act upstairs in the Lexington tonight. And while support acts are sometimes a good opportunity for the lesser known bands to be given a chance, tonight they were given too much leeway and took the piss.
To begin proceedings, the audience are forced to listen to Solar Flares (an act that lie on the floor tearing strings off guitars proclaiming to be the second coming of My Bloody Valentine.) Musical masturbation this is, art rock it is not. Second in the firing line are Engineers, who raise the bar ever so slightly- but after ten minutes its clear that bands like Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky, for all their greatness, have spawned a generation of mediocre post rock shoe gazers, who should learn to smile for at least ten seconds of a performance.
Its half nine now and its beginning to feel like a school pantomime such is the tomfoolery and generally awful brand of music that’s being played. By the time Emile Nikolaisen struts on stage – dressed like a cross between Rambo and Lou Reed – the crowd have awoken from their sleep. The lights go down and its show time. This bunch don’t fuck around. They may have gotten the label from some lazy music critics as shoegazers, but this ain’t the type of music that you shyly stare at the floor to.
It’s hard to pigeon hole the sound this lot are creating amongst the guitars; shakers; laptops and bottles of wine, but it’s seriously out there. With a loop of backward guitar samples, and drumbeats that wouldn’t be out of place on a kraut rock record, it’s rare you’ll see a tighter group of musicians than this. The songs scurry into one another, such is the mesh of distortion and muffled vocals that whale though the venue like a mad man escaping from an asylum.
The total set comes to about thirty five minutes, which is disappointing as the night is only getting going, and failing to produce stomping crowd pleasers such as ‘Drain Cosmetics’ or ‘Sapphire Eyes’ is a real let down. As the stage lights come on prematurely and the night whimpers out with no encore, you get the feeling this had the potential to be a corker of a gig. Sometimes the promoters just make a balls of it.