Posted by Edward Fielding.
Reviewed on 7th October 2007.
Live at The Refectory on Wednesday, 3rd October 2007
Having been living in the big smoke for far too long, it's a very long time since I've been to The Refectory, in fact I was still at school in an era when Year 10 was called Fifth year. That year I saw The Cult play, when She sells Sanctuary was in the charts; I also saw The Cramps, which was a bit of a riot, literally. I remember thinking back then, that The Refectory was a big venue but on refection, it's not and certainly not the size of venue which you'd expect Athlete to play.
For me the warm up of a gig is an all integral part. We got in late due to the record company's poor communication and so missed the first act, but on came Fonda 500. Lead singer Simon came on stage like a half Manga Ewok, half human, with his hat with fluffy ears! I was instantly aware that this was a band with a sense of humour. A solid band who heavily use electro samples and freaky keyboard parts. With a smattering of beat boxing, but not in the baseball cap I'm a serious musician beatbox way! No, this was beatbox jamming like we all can do. That description does not do the band justice, so go check out their MySpace. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
While Fonda 500 where dismantling their jungle of wires, a domestic started next to me between a man (geek looking) and his very pretty blonde girlfriend. I would tell you what the discourse was about, but I'm getting on and my hearings going from too many gigs. Suffice to say, she walked off and he didn't follow, which in my humble opinion was a big mistake on his half, as she was way prettier than him. He had money or brains or whatever the trade off is these days between geeks and beautiful women.
Anyway, back to the gig... Athlete. I was looking forward to Athlete, I genuinely like them, but sadly I don't think I like them live. They came on, all five with a new guitarist, and played an intro before going in Toyko. All the members of the band came on all wearing black and promptly nodded their heads to the beat. Yep, it was that exciting! Yes , they are excellent musicians, yes he can sing, but this was stadium stuff not The Refectory in Leeds. After Toyko, which got a rounding applause (which made me feel guilty about my feelings), they played Tourist and everyone sang along. 500 audience members can't be wrong; the crowd were enjoying it or were they just pleased to hear a song they knew? If it hadn't been for the very impressive light show, then I'd have been a bit bored.
I looked at the lady next to me who obviously knew all the words, which made me look at the audience again. The audience was full of those kind of students who always get their essays in on time - they look 32 when actually they're only 21. Maybe that's the problem, I love the music, I just don't fit in with this crowd.
So Athlete, I have a personal relationship with their music, which is all about me, my mood and their music. That's not something that can be recreated in a crowd!