Wednesday 14 July 2010

Mirrors, The Hundred In The Hands, MNDR at Madame Jo Jos - 13 July 2010


MNDR, known to her friends as Amanda Warner, is finding the London audience to be hard work. After a lot of cajoling she gets us to wave our hands in the air like we just don’t care, but as soon as she stops cheerleading and resumes a song, the arms flop back down and we stand about like twitching Muppets.

We’re crap at joining in choruses too…

…which is a real pity because MNDR is pure sassy party fun, from the white frames of her oversized Trevor-Horn-in-The-Buggles glasses to the groovy abandon with which she shakes her rump. And it's a fine rump.

This is good simple electronic dance music with lots of pizzazz, vim, oomph and any other adjective that sounds a lot like a popular brand of household cleaner.

She’s great, and is clearly relishing the chance to do her own thing outside of her other job as part of Business International, currently Mark Ronson’s backing band.

She ends her set with the emotional power ballad ‘The Sparrow’ which she dedicates to those who protest against Arizona’s racist immigration law.

Next up come Brooklyn’s hotly tipped chill wave dance duo The Hundred In The Hands. Jason Friedman and Eleanore Everdell are a striking pair – he all a constant tick and twitch as he plays a succession of guitars and basses, she thin and elegant, her hair a curtain across her face.

The contrast with the previous act is marked. Where MNDR is all about connection, The Hundred In The Hands are distant and aloof.

Everdell has a pure, clipped voice, and annunciates more than sings. She barely acknowledges Friedman, instead she is in a world of her own, slowly contorting her body, pressing her legs together and writhing to her own rhythm. It’s clearly born of the energy and emotion of her performance, but she does look awfully as though she really needs the loo.

I enjoy them a lot, even though their live sound is notably different from their recorded works. They finish their set with an absolutely tremendous reworking of their most well known song ‘Dressed In Dresden’; tonight stripped down to an almost PIL –like dub bass rumble. The notes they don’t play are as important as the ones they do.

The headliners tonight are Mirrors, who are four immaculately suited and booted young men from Brighton. Mad Men has a lot to answer for.

When I say that they should have been on first it is not a slur on their abilities. In fact it’s quite the contrary. It’s because they each operate from behind a bank of vintage electronic equipment and it takes an age for them to lug all their gear on stage and assemble it. There’s enough cable and wiring to juice up Frankenstein’s monster and it takes slightly less long to put together than Jodrell Bank.

Once they are finally ready, and we have marvelled at an introductory back projection, and watched the dry ice blow across the stage, they explode into a jaunty old school electro pop that nods both to Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark and Franz Ferdinand.

I like them a great deal and my one regret is that it is now so late that I have to leave them to it.

It’s been a damn good evening of varied and compelling music. Even without my arm in the air like I just don’t care.

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