...went to see Asobi Seksu in Brighton, alongside Kempernorton and two beautiful girls, expecting shoegazing to shoot it's way back into the veins of the mainstream. I'm a sucker for sweet girl singers and Asobi has everything you'd want; a beautiful petite parcel of a singer (even if she was cut in half you'd still want to have sex with her. Yes, both halves) with a voice that soars and a keyboard playing style that partially emulates the once great (no idea what the new album is like) Gallon Drunk.
Ageing Sad Dad Indie Boy squeek heaven.
The album Citrus had been re-released to some acclaim and I was expecting not so much a new dawn as an old one, a return to thoe few bliss-filled moments when My Bloody Valentine sucked a small london pit (The Falcon?) into their whorls of sound (a gig so good even the floor started stage-diving - or anyways melting and splashing onto the feet of Blinda Butcher).
This might have been part of the problem.
If Asobi don't exactly surge on record, then live they put on an excellent show - peaking and troughing all over the place and, yes, surging in all the right places. The sound isn't great and the venue not tight enough - no DJ between or before bands? WTF?
.................................Eerie tumbleweeded silence filled the hall, causing various 30 something indie-kids, already stretching the definition, to retroscend back into the quiet acquiesence of their youth; back into a school time when they dropped their eyes and kept walking past the bigger boys (the spade handed, the overbitten, the iron-jawed, the casual). It's quiet as hell in here; quiet as the clockticks you hear while you're watching a sex scene with your grandparents..................................................................
It was quiet and then it got loud - I guess maybe that was supposed to be someone's idea of a joke. I didn't like it.
Anyway, Asobi Seksu did everything right, played a potentially blistering set but... the potential was never quite realised because...
The indie fuckers in the audience don't dance. Not once. We tried our bit - ok more shimmying than dancing - but no one picks up on it. People came here to stare. It's embarassing, like a zoo with too small cages. Onstage the band is giving it their all, thrashing about like there's no tomorrow - they should be rocking the foundations of this place but...
The indie fuckers just nod politely and keep on staring. It's too anthropological by half, no one's cutting loose - fuck sake, Kempernorton has been practising his patened indie spazz dance at his flat, to Battles' Atlas (his and I's favourite song of recent months, for reasons neither one of us can explain).
But it's all to no avail. We try to push down the front but all these starers are freaking us out. The audience is still as statues, still as those people needing the L-Dopa fix. It's creepy, like Medusa's come to town.
When My Bloody Valentine played, people had no way of associating with this kind of noise (The Velvet Underground seemed a long way off to a 15 year old brought up on jangle/anorak pop - who thought My Bloody Valentine were jangle-pop). Adrift and unsure, people simply thrashed about, lost control of their limbs, helplessly spun in circles and caught loose elbows in the eyes from well-meaning chaps in stripy jumpers and stray hair-slides from well-meaning girls in 60s dresses (now Emma Bunton dresses). People danced because staring didn't seem an option then.
With Asobi, the oldish audience (I thought I'd feel old; I felt young) have seen it all before - they need more, they're jaded as hell by this wall of sound. This might be Brighton - I used to live there, got phazed and worn out by the cooler-than-though attitude at some of the clubs - but I got the feeling that this kind of malaise is a symptom of this kind of music; the shoegazing revival is attracting press and attention and selling a few records but I think most of the people interested were interested first time around as well and they're gonna need more to be impressed. It's sad because I really like Asobi Seksu, think they deserved more than this gentle paddling - people clapped, like they might at a street performer, but they didn't move.
I wanted to dance. To lose myself.
Maybe I should go an dig out my lumo-socks and go and see The Klaxons.
(Link fixed, I think)
Battles - Atlas