Trof Grosvenor Street (The Deaf Institute), Manchester
Friday January 20, 2012
Ah, January. We're supposedly at the end of the most depressing week of the year, if you're seduced by pseudoscience designed to sell trips abroad (guilty as charged given recent holiday booking), nobody's drinking because they're all detoxing after Christmas and New Year, the students are all holed up revising for exams, and we're hurtling towards recession again. Great.
You wouldn't know it tonight, though. If this show isn't sold out, then someone's having a laugh - the first floor music hall at the Deaf Institute is absolutely rammed. It's easily the busiest I've seen it in four years, although perhaps it's also to do with the quality on offer. Casiokids' last run-in with a Motel reviewer was two and a half years ago, and somewhat hazy to boot. Since then, they've received a bursary from a-ha and recorded another album, the promising Aabenbaringen over aaskammen (review forthcoming).
As one might expect from a band who once performed in a hot air balloon, Casiokids' otherwise conventional stage layout has two noticeable additions - a newspaper supplement and a pitta bread (on which the setlist is written - maybe they were worried that you can't recycle paper in Manchester or something).
The set is mainly a mix of second and third album fare, and it's all delivered at a frenetic pace. Even the standard 'ballad' features both pounding drums and a visual accompaniment of tiny red and green lasers. The video accompaniment to current single 'Golden Years' is a rather apt roll-call of newsreaders and TV reporters from byegone days with impressively dated hairstyles.
It's clear that the band's single releases stand head and shoulders above the rest of their material. Both 'Golden Years' and 'Det Haster' in particular are streets ahead of the rest of the new tracks. However, there are one or two other gems on that new album though - the minor-key guitar riff, delicious harmonies and 4/4 riff of 'Dresinen' is a good old-fashioned foot-stomper that's far better live than on record. It also succeeds in engineering an outbreak of some sort of dance virus both on stage and in the front third of the audience - although truth be told, the set has probably been building up to this via concerted foot-shuffling and head-nodding.
The big hitters are reserved for the end of the set, with breakthrough tracks such as the epic 'Verdens Storste Land' (its brilliance is spoiled a little by slightly muddy sound for those of us wedged under the balcony in the heaving venue) followed swiftly by 'Finn Bikkjen!' (conversely, far better live) and an ear-bleeding rendition of 'Fot i Hose' that has pretty much everyone moving as one. All in all, it's a solid show - but you get the impression that there's room for the band to improve even more as time passes and their following grows.
Casiokids' new album, Aabenbaringen over aaskammen, is out now on Moshi Moshi Records. The single 'Golden Years' is released this week, and the band play at the Portland Arms in Cambridge (tonight, January 25), The Forum, Tunbridge Wells (27) and The Farmhouse, Canterbury (28).
This show was presented by DHP Concerts