Tuesday 19 November 2013

Manflu, Skinny Girl Diet at Lexington - 15 November 2013

It's a traditional Friday at the Lexington. Our enthusiastic determination not to miss anything sees us upstairs and into the venue as soon as the doors open. 

There's the usual three men and a dog in here. We're the three men and the dog has got the night off. 

It's only slightly busier when the first act takes the stage. 72% Morrissey is as bad a name as has ever been adopted by a band and it rather sells them short. 

The modus operandi is very straightforward. This instrumental three-piece play nothing other than a succession of gargantuan bluesy riffs which all sound fantastic. Unfortunately, as none of these lasts longer than a couple of minutes they never develop into anything as substantial as a song. 

The band have worked out a special bit of stage business to accompany each riff. Josh Ryan will throw his guitar about, or Joe Brown will fall to his knees to ring the neck of his own instrument. Or one of them will do a duck walk, or yell "Yeah Muithafucka!' off mike.

It's entertaining for about ten minutes, but the law of diminishing returns sets in surprisingly quickly.

Most acts tend to spend the evening holed up in their dressing room before being summoned to the stage. Not so Skinny Girl Diet. They've been parked on a seat behind me and come through the audience to clamber up into view.

Since I last saw them they have supported Primal Scream at the Roundhouse. This experience seems to have rubbed off on them. It's also no coincidence that Amelia is wearing a 'Death to The Pixies' T-shirt. The sound that the band produces now is ferocious and the new songs are rooted in the heavy fuzz of 1990's grunge.

Delilah's vocals are an incomprehensible 40-fag-a-day rasp. She snarls and sneers through the set and simultaneously looks both happy and utterly murderous.

It's an impressive performance, but at this rate the band will be wowing them at Download rather than at Glastonbury.  And quite right too.

Manflu have been on the scene for a number of years. I've long wanted to see them, but tonight is the first time that the stars have been favourably aligned.
Tonight the band are launching an album, and all stops have been pulled out. The guys in the band are in full grip of Movember, with much luxurious face-furniture on display. Singer Aza is spectacularly attired in a golden body suit.
The band plays and the crowd goes ape - Aza striding from side to side, her Nico monotone chanting the words.

And I don't like it. It's just one of those things. They leave me completely flat. I had been looking forward to Manflu for ages, and they just don't connect with me at all.
If I had to put my finger on it I think it's because I feel that all the dressing up is an end in its self and that without it they'd be very ordinary. I get no spark from them, too much art and not enough rock.

Manflu remind me a lot of of the Do Me Bad Things, another band who looked great but felt pedestrian.
I'm more disappointed with myself than anything - most people here are having a great time. But you can't win 'em all.







1 comment:

Godlike Genius said...

Manflu ended really well I thought. A ten minute mostly instrumental, very percussive (a drum and cymbal brought out for the singer to bash) and improvised. By far the best thing they did all night.