All entries for Tuesday 01 December 2009

December 01, 2009

Music Resolution 2009 – Little Boots & Soft Toy Emergency, Liverpool Academy 2, 22nd May

Join me and my New Year’s Resolution to go to at least one gig every month of 2009.

I have a confession. I appear to be accidentally stalking Soft Toy Emergency. No really. Get tickets to see Metronomy, who’s supporting? STE. Get tickets to see Crystal Castles, who’s supporting? STE. Get tickets to the opera, who’s supporting? Actually I dunno, does opera do support acts? I am not cultured, so don’t do opera, for all I know they have ice cream fights and squid orgies at the opera. Inky.

But STE do seem to follow me around, or possibly vice versa, for there they were, supporting Little Boots! So were another band about whom I remember very little except a) it was their first ever gig, and b) one of their songs sounded like that old kids song about “A Pizza Hut, a Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut”. You know, the one which transforms childhood obesity into a catchy ditty. STE were a bit better than this. Infact their combination of shouty girl singer, hammering bass, 8-bitty synths and general hi-NRG has lead at least one of my mates to conclude they are the result of a scientist trying to create my ideal band. Who knows. It might just work, at the Little Boots gig, over a year after I first accidentally saw them, STE had definitely pumped up the sound and stage show. In another year they could, theoretically, be wonderful (even if they are signed All Around The World, home to some of the current era’s most ear-rapingly bad music – Scooter, Styles and Ultrabeat, anyone?).

From their Facebook group.

But la.

Tonight is about pop which isn’t, or is it? Just who is Little Boots? Ok, I know she’s Victoria Hesketh, but who is she? Is she a genuine pop princess, crafting little pop earworms to infect the mobile phones of those antisocial twats who need to serenade the whole bus? Or is she making credible, indie-electro, self-penned and cool? Or both? Or neither?

It’s all so very hard to tell, and in concert it’s not much more obvious. Yes, the Academy 2 in Liverpool is a tiny cavern (ho ho), so there’s no room for mass costume changes, reams of dancers and backing singers (although she has subsequently acquired two, one of whom, hilariously, looks just like La Roux), or massive stage shows with anamatronic unicorns. But you suspect this is really is because of a lack of massive record label investment. It’s not a criticism. ‘New In Town’ and ‘Earthquake’ are so instant that you’re singing along with the chorus before you’ve even heard it, and had they been given to Girls Aloud would have been number one forever. With the benefit of hindsight it might seem easy to say, but at the time it was obvious that the unreleased ‘Remedy’ was set to rock some serious socks over the summer. I’ve rarely seen a crowd go so mental for an unreleased track.

But then there’s those nods to the indier side of things. That “Tenori-on,”: a Japanese sequencer which looks and sounds stunning sits onstage just next to Miss Boots, as does her own personal little synth. She barely touches either, but you sense they are there to act as barriers – ‘look’, they say, ‘she wrote all these songs on us, we are proof that she is 4real’. Then there’s the clambering over the stage like a rock star, which resulted, cutely, in Hesketh getting stuck on a speaker stack, wedged underneath a monitor. For a moment it looked like someone was going to have to get a stick and poke her down.

There’s also something achingly hip about covering ‘Love Kills’ by Freddie Mercury and Giorgio Moroder, as if to say that merely covering late 80s Stock-Waterman-Aitkin just isn’t cool enough. It could also be a tacit acknowledgement that her best song, the thunderous ‘Stuck On Repeat’, is rather similar to Moroder’s Donna Summer classic ‘I Feel Love’. Mind you, if you’re going to finish a gig on an extended version of any song, ‘Stuck On Repeat’ is a fantastic choice, sending the audience crazy.

From, and boy do I want some mobiles like those!

If nothing else, this night proved once more that talking to randoms can be an endless source of fun. This time around we collected a lovely auntie/niece combo, the auntie of whom turned out to have been in early 1990s dance act Oceanic. If you can’t remember them then you probably don’t remember the early 1990s and will almost certainly not realise that neon leggings didn’t look good then and don’t now, so stop buying them! The good news is this ‘Top Of The Pops’ footage of Oceanic features no neon leggings on band members:

Another brilliant fact about Oceanic – they called their album That CD/LP/Cassette by Oceanic (delete as applicable). You can tell they’re Scousers from the sense of humour.

Any chance of a Little Boots cover?

December 2009

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