Thursday, 14 July 2011

Tie-dyed in knots for Blondes at CAMP Basement

Went to see Blondes just over a month ago. For some reason there weren't many people at CAMP (maybe because it's a shithole with very optimistically priced beverages), but they stepped up and gave it their best for a motley crew of weeknight wreckheads and silent head-nodders. A very good band indeed, and their John Talabot remix is on Myspace, which is worth checking out even in this Murdoch-boycotting age.

May I take this moment also to recommend the head-spinning disco-but-not-rubbish deliciousness of John Talabot. His XLR8R podcast has been keeping me toe-tapping during the daily grind.

First published in Loud And Quiet

CAMP Basement
26th May 2011

At quarter past eleven, CAMP Basement contains just 40 people, give or take some smoking stragglers outside. Those in attendance seem bemused at the low turnout – seems we all expected a roadblock for this mid-week nugget of sensual synth grooves and retro-future-trance. 'Cos everyone loves retro-future-trance, right?

Anyway, Blondes take their position behind an impossible patchwork of hardware, keys and cables, embarking on a slowly building set that gently coaxes us into its ambiguous emotions, involving and evolving through dischordant horns, fuzzy analogue warmth and big, big beats. On record it seems cerebral, almost cold, but by the set's halfway mark we've got a rag-tag anti-rave going on down here, 40 of us locked into the beat, arms raised and heads nodding like clockwork.

Zach Steinman, one half of the Ohio-via-Brooklyn-via-Berlin duo, says of the semi-improvised show, “I'm not really sure if it would work in a huge club. If someone tried that I'd be scared.” Don't buy it. Despite the low turnout, Blondes could easily wave their hypnotic rave wands over a huge club – or better, an arboreal summer festival – and have a thousand-strong crowd tie-dyed in knots for their elegantly engineered free-flowing trance.

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