Live at Blank Canvas on Tuesday, 6th December 2005
The night starts of very well indeed, as I enter the Blank Canvas I notice that tonight we have guest DJs doing sets in between sets which I absolutely loved. Not only that but they played fantastic music, the night seemed to have started before it had even started, if you get what I mean. It's nearing 10:30 now and the DJ is just winding down with Radiohead's "Idioteque" which receives a tremendous applause.
As the applause begins to die down The Sunshine Underground come fourth and the crowd simply erupts with support for this band. I'm not surprised either as The Sunshine Underground were absolutely phenomenal. What are they like? They combine an assortment of dance rhythms and simple rock melodies to create what has to be the catchiest music that is so incredibly easy to enjoy it's almost untrue. It's almost impossible not to enjoy this kind of music, dance beats and rock music go together like Steven Hawking and wheelchairs or Bill Gates and computers.
Lead singer Craig Wellington had such an amazing stage presence and really communicated with the crowd, which by this point had completely filled Blank Canvas. The best part of the night apart from their encapsulating music was Crag's ability to entertain. What do you mean? Well through the night he had been hitting this cowbell (no the instrument) in time to the music. Now he obviously got more and more hyped up as the show went on because at the end he furiously attacked this cowbell (take it as you will this time). But he did it so well because although he was belting the living hell out of it, it sounded really good and worked so well. Unfortunately I don't know the names of their songs so I can't give you a rundown of their set list apart from I know they did play one called "Panic Attack" which was truly brilliant. This band were nothing short of perfect and I do wish to see them again sometime soon.
Now on to the second band of the night, Hot Chip. Who are Hot Chip? They are a 5 piece dirty electronic band. Their music consists of many experimental off the wall sounds and atonal lyrics. Now I am going to set the scene for you: the DJ has just wound down his record and the Blank Canvas goes very dark. Deep red lights illuminate the stage which is full of synthesizers and microphones. Hot Chip take the stage.
A huge cheers bellows out from the crowd as Hot Chips dark synthetic sounds begin to fill the venue. The atmosphere is vibrant the beer is certainly flowing and the music is pounding out of the speakers. Unfortunately the sounds echoing about were... to put it gently... terrible. Why is that? Well simply because they were Boring as Hell with a capital 'B'. They originally started with some good experimental electronic sounds that really caught my attention, they then proceeded with the same melody over... and over... and over... and over until it was just loud noise, kind of like a skipping record. There were no chord progressions it was so dull.
That was just the start; the lead singer who looked remarkably like pee-wee had very bland uninspiring dry vocals. Their experimental electronic sounds were good I have to admit, but they never changed, destroying the only good thing about them. It was almost as if the band had pressed 2 chords and gone "right that's the album". However that is just my opinion the band did get a good reaction so hey it's probably just me.
When LCD Soundsystem arrived on stage the crowd simply went nuts, they hadn't even started their set and already people were throwing themselves about just to get that little extra closer. Wasting no time at all in giving us exactly what we want LCD Soundsystem swiftly move into their second song "Daft Punk is playing at my House", with what has to have been the entirety of the Blank Canvas singing the words along with the band. It was almost impossible not to be completely captivated by their unique electronic rock.
After finishing "Daft Punk ..." singer James Murphy thanked us all for being so great then before we knew it the pure sound of "Tribulations" could be heard and even felt through your body. Strangely enough this song was played third which I thought was very odd as it is their biggest hit (I gather a lot of people where actually there for that song alone). You would have thought they would have saved it until last. Hey, who cares though we got satisfaction before we knew we were even getting it.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the night was when James Murphy decided that he wanted to play drums, A LOT. He only had a couple of snare drums and shared cymbals with the drummer but god damn could he play them. He must have had so much built up aggression, energy or something because the rate at which he banged the drums was phenomenal. I think I may actually have seen his eyes pop out of his head due to the shear amount of strain on his body.
This was not the only impressive thing James Murphy did that night (apart from being amazing obviously). You see cow bells must have been the theme of the night, every band had one. The Sunshine Underground attacked theirs, Hot Chip belted theirs and LCD Soundsystem, well they just blew everyone away with a cow bell solo, oh yes! Seriously it was the best thing of the whole night. It just sort of came out of nowhere and lasted for and impressive 5 to 10 minutes, true performer.
It's the end of their set now and LCD Soundsystem left the stage to a tremendous applause as the lights came up. It actually appeared as if they were not going to do an encore. Sod that, the crowd shouted out for them to return and just before all hope was lost they made a triumphant return for one last song.
Over all the night was an absolutely huge success. Ending at 2am had no effect on the numbers of people there which was fantastic. I actually think that The Sunshine Underground and LCD Soundsystem were on a par performance wise as they were both sheer brilliance, kick ass night.