Baby I swear it’s deja vu
The Barfly was due to be visited by Battles on Thursday the 24th of May. In the run-up to the gig, P’Ashton had mentioned that he was surprised it wasn’t sold out yet, and my old homedutchpot Matt had told me (to my surprise) that he’d heard Battles on the radio. I didn’t disbelieve these sterling fellows, it was more just that it didn’t all sink in. When I got there and found it sold out, I was stunned. Battles, that band who I saw at Supersonic the year before last? They’re famous now? Blimey, Charlie. Big shouts go out to the bloke who actually ran around the corner to catch up with me and offer his spare ticket to me for face value. Cheers, guv.
There’s a massive sense of Déjà vu about this, but never mind. I suppose the lesson to be learned here (since I’m already well aware that my finger isn’t exactly on the pulse these days) is to get tickets in advance more often. I wish The Barfly had a box office.
Those good ol’ Modified Toy Orchestra boys were a genius idea for support, although in all fairness I’d probably have them playing at every gig ever organised if it was up to me. They really felt right here, though. I suppose one of the great things about them is that they work on so many different levels. The first thing people pick up on is the “Wahey! Music made with toy!” gimmick. Beyond but within this, though, there’s an arty/conceptual side (which makes a lot of sense to me). Beyond this (and probably most important, given the context it’s all presented in) they have some great fun tunes. The backing visuals that they use are great beyond this still, including Freeno And Olaf which was probably the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen and came very close to bringing a tear to my eye.
There are very few bands I’d say this about, but it’s hard to imagine anyone disliking Battles if they gave them a fair listen. They play mad polyrhythmic business and combine it with dayglo stampy glam-pop without the slightest hint of incongruity. Rarely do bands bring together all that is great in life so well. My favourites from the album (“Atlas” and “Leyendecker”) were amazing, and so was that one geezer’s hair, but the whole set was a ridiculously huge amount of fun from start to finish.
Can anyone actually decipher the words to “Atlas” (without looking them up), incidentally? I can’t, but I’m notoriously bad at this sort of thing. ”Feed the monkey, feed the monkey, feed the monkey, feed the monkey, wear ‘em, scare ‘em, show ‘em interest…” probably isn’t right.
An absolutely fantastic gig all round, anyway (even if I was partly shown in one of the clips of last year’s Supersonic that was projected onto the back wall between bands. Yes, you can find this on YouTube. No, I’m not telling you where). I once more salute the lad who sold me a ticket.