Thursday 9 June 2011

Ladytron and Marina Gasolina at The Forum - 08 June 2011


I’m standing in The Forum being entertained by Figo. Not the mesmeric Portuguese footballer, but a DJ who is onstage and laying down a selection of beats.

It’s kind of alright, but it is a waste of stage. Figo would be just as effective if he was packed away in a booth somewhere. Watching a guy in a hoody tweaking a button occasionally does not constitute a live show.

Lack of charisma is not a charge that could be levelled at Marina Gasolina.

She’s about five feet tall, bunched in a black dress and is a tiny wailing ball of fury. Her band is an unpretentious outfit, happy to bang out a decent line in bluesy, guitar-led rock and roll. There are plenty of axe-hero poses and charging around the stage behind her.

Marina is more widely known as a vocalist with the Diplo–produced Bondo De Role. Left to her own devices, the electronic beats have entirely gone, to be replaced by a fierce and primal sound that doesn’t lack for intensity. She sings and shouts and screws her face up. At one stage she unpins her hair and her head disappears behind a curtain of tresses, the only thing visible her open, screaming mouth.

This stage is too big for her, the venue too empty. But this band would be terrific in a smaller setting and I’d be glad to see them there.

Marina Gasolina - Leone by Sainted PR

Ladytron are a bit betwixt and between this evening. They’ve just released a Greatest Hits compilation and also have a new album ‘Gravity the Seducer’ coming out in September.

The stage is stripped down to the basic equipment that the Liverpool five piece use, the spectacle tonight provided by a pair of green lasers that beam across the heads of the crowd.

Ladytron’s set starts off with favourites all the way – ‘Runaway’, ‘High Rise’, ‘Ghost In Me’, ‘International Date Line’, ‘Soft Power’ …it’s all good, but it’s also just a little bit staid and expected.

The bar is raised with an airing of recent single 'Ace of Hz’. I realise that it has the exact beat and tune of Boney M’s ‘Daddy Cool’, if that track were slowed down to half speed. (Check it out – I’m right). I’m not knocking either track.

And so they go on. ‘Seventeen’ has been retooled and uncluttered and sounds almost like a new song. This highlights the (admittedly minor) problem tonight – the new songs are more enjoyable than the old ones. This is nothing to do with quality, but all to do with my thirst for new material.

I always prefer the challenge of the new as opposed to the comfort of the old. Ladytron provide a bit of both tonight and deliver a solid seven or eight out of ten kind of show. That will do me for now.

Ladytron - Little Black Angel by nettwerkmusicgroup

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