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Bands to watch #18: Alphabeat

 
By on Friday, 25th January 2008 at 3:26 pm
 

AlphabeatIt seems that Scandanavians currently have one of the best music scenes around at the moment, managing to have some of the most diverse, and interesting, acts around at the moment. Denmark’s Alphabeat are set to take over the airwaves in 2008 with their unique brand of camp, over-the-top pop which makes the Scissor Sisters look tame.

Perfectly danceable, lyrically strong, and quintessentially Danish in sound, they have some of the best tunes since the Scissor Sisters with a much more European feel, and a hint of flashbacks from the 90’s too. Their self-titled debut came out last summer in Denmark, and is out this May in the UK, but is one of the most varied collections of music I’ve heard in a while – a really great album.

Fans include the Sun, the NME, and a fair few blogs and online news sites, and they have the same management as Mika – and we all know how big Mika has become, love it or hate it.

They’re currently on tour with Palladium around the UK, and I’ll be going to see them on Monday night in Oxford – expect a full review on Tuesday.

 

Live: Palladium at Scala

 
By on Friday, 20th July 2007 at 1:52 am
 

Palladium - Live @ Scala“This is a slower song – hope you don’t mind” Palladium‘s Peter Pepper says before launching into “White Woman”. The audience certainly didn’t, as it gave a welcome respite from the scintillating pace they’d been playing at for the last twenty minutes.

Opening up with their new single “Happy Hour”, they quickly set out their manifesto: fast, friendly and frantic pop. Racing through 7 songs in 30 minutes, they worked the crowd well and had more arms flailing down the front than The Thrills did half an hour later for the main set of the evening.

Whilst trying to think of a band to compare them to, this Londonista really couldn’t decide, in the end settling on Klaxons fronted by Patrick Wolf playing Delays and Sunshine Underground. They really are an oddball group of people that really shouldn’t be in a band together, but somehow it just works.

There were three songs in the set (their opening two and closing song) which were very promising, easily able to outshine most of the current crop of pop-wannabes; however the middle of the set did seem to largely be filler that started to sound very similar. Their energy may have been unstoppable, but it’s no good if the tunes all sound similar but slightly re-jigged.

Peter Pepper (if that is his real name…) introduced the last, and perhaps best, song of their evening, Hi-5, by giving the record company spiel about buying their new single in a decidedly boring and un-Palladium like way… they might as well got the guys from EMI to do it themselves. This is one band where they should leave the music to do the talking for them.

Whilst at the moment Palladium are only playing small venues supporting bands at the moment, expect in time them to be playing their own palladiums and theatres near you

Palladium support Amy Winehouse at Somerset House tomorrow, then play Lovebox on Sunday and a headline show at the Barfly on Thursday 2nd August.
Continue reading Live: Palladium at Scala

 

Live: Mika – Koko in London – March 22nd

 
By on Friday, 23rd March 2007 at 1:47 am
 

When tipped for the top, many artists can’t live up to the hype that has been created for them by the press. Mika, on the other hand is different. Revelling in the limelight, the 23 year old jumped on stage at London’s Koko last night to start the first date of his six date UK tour, fully recovered from a bout of flu that cancelled the first date in Brighton on Tuesday.

Support came in the interesting form of Kitty, Daisy and Lewis who are something of a hillbilly Von Trapp family, with Mum and Dad providing backing on double bass and acoustic guitar respectively, and the kids at the front of the band, appearing younger than most of the audience. They muddled their way through their set, clearly nervous at playing to such a large crowd compared to what they’re used to, playing just about every instrument possible. In the circumstances they were good, but need to work on getting that much tighter in the future – they seem a bit all over the place, and don’t appear to know their way around their instruments particularly well.

Pretty soon 9pm rolled round and sure enough Mika jumped on, launching straight into “Relax”, showing that his voice was fully recovered from his flu, and that he was back to full strength. Moving nicely into a jumpy “Love today”, he soon removed his ornate hoody, going down to braces and a dress shirt, joking how he always starts off with so many more clothes than is comfortable.

“Big Girls” came around and he was indeed joined by two, erm, larger, girls for the song, dancing around, popping out of their corsets several times, and generally causing mischief, dancing on his piano stool, and getting in the way of his guitarist. “Ring Ring” is the closest to a ballad Mika has, joined by a superb backing singer and a cellist. Sure enough closer to the set was “Grace Kelly”, his current number 1 hit single, sung almost perfectly from the crowd, with Mika clearly touched by the response.

After a short break, Mika comes back to do his bubble-gum hit “Lollipop”, a song that Aqua would have been proud of. He’s joined by his dancers, the Lollipop girls, who dance, jump, and play with four huge letters that spell out “LOVE”. Glitter cannons go off; giant balloons are thrown into the crowd, giving an experience akin to the Flaming Lips at Hammersmith Apollo last summer. With that, Mika walks off, finishing 50 minutes of camp classics that in one album have put him up there with the Scissor Sisters and a modern day Freddie Mercury.

His May tour has almost totally sold out, and he looks likely to be a hit at the festivals this summer, with Glastonbury already confirmed. Watch out for him – he’s going to be very infectious over the coming months.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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