Live and Kicking

Which acts you should be seeing this Michaelmas.

Bloc Party DeadMau5 Dragonforce Gigs Little Boots Michaelmas Newton Faulkner The Twilight Sad

 The Cambridge music scene is not the most vibrant you are likely to find in the country. With the dominance of Cindies over the club scene and the best venue in the city, The Junction, located a considerable distance away from the centre, it can be difficult to go and see top quality live music whilst in the term time bubble. This guide therefore is intended as a kindly nudge to remind you that even when you are locked into yet another Wednesday trip into everybody’s favourite cesspit, that live music is still alive and kicking in your fair university city. So without further ado, here are my five highlights of the forthcoming term that if you can get to, you really ruddy should do.

Little Boots – Thursday 29th October, Cambridge Junction

Fresh off the back of two highly memorable performances at Reading and Glastonbury, Victoria Heskarth brings her brand of Kylie-esque synth pop to a gig venue near you. With an album packed full of danceable singles, her live performances are some of the most energetic around and never fail to impress. We gave her debut album 9/10 in our first batch of album reviews and with such a strong set of songs to draw from, the BBC Sound of 2009 winner is a live delight and for a measly tenner you’ll get incredible value for your money. Just don’t complain to me when your mates catch you singing Remedy out loud when walking to lectures.

Bloc Party – Tuesday 27th October, Cambridge Corn Exchange

Ok, it’s sold out and as a consequence tickets are more expensive than hens teeth, hand crafted out of gold by a blind member of the Faberge family. But if you do take the plunge and bite the price bullet, you are guaranteed an electric live performance and an absolutely ballistic atmosphere. When hits such as “Flux”, “Helicopter” and “Hunting for Witches” start belting out around the hall, you can expect that rare feeling of the excitement of feeling both totally alive from the music and near to death from the frantic moshing at the same time. With non-committal noises coming from the band relating to their short term future as well, it may be worth the daylight robbery from your average tout to see one of the hottest bands in the country in case they go away for good.

DeadMau5 – Tuesday 20th October, Junction

One of the hottest electronic artists in the country, Deadmau5 is gathering a formidable reputation as the country’s hottest mixer and isn’t wasting his time about getting there. “I Remember”, for example, is a slice of superb trance and his remix of “I’m Not Alone” by Calvin Harris manages to better a pretty damn good song, with a purer synth effect and delicately arranged effects cascading back and forth. If this sounds appealing, a new mix album should be out this month and he has his own second album coming out soon after so it’s probably worth your £15 entrance fee to go and see what the fuss is about. And if it doesn’t do it for you, the Deadmau5 helmet he wears is probably worth £15 just to look at it’s that amazing.

The Twilight Sad – Tuesday 27th October, Portland Arms

I may have tempted you to go to Bloc Party on the same day as this gig earlier in the review so it might be naughty of me to highly recommend two bands on the same night. However, for this band I make an exception. Their debut album Fourteen Autumns, Fifteen Winters released in 2007 was probably, in my opinion, one of the best albums released since OK Computer ten years before it. Hell I know I’m sticking myself out on a limb saying that, but regardless of whether or not you believe me when you hear the album the dazzling noise may confound you as much as it did me, particularly the explosive epitome of the perfect song “That summer, at home I had become the invisible boy”. They have a new album out on the 5th October and for fans of the grandiose, melodic noise stylings of acts such as The National, Interpol, Glasvegas, My Morning Jacket and even perhaps Godspeed! Black Emperor, this should be a perfect gig for you. It’s your chance to see one of the world’s special bands and probably a wiser investment than the Golden Ticket price to see Kele and the boys. God, I can be such a tease sometimes……

Dragonforce – Tuesday 8th December, Corn Exchange

This last slot had a lot of competition. Noah and the Whale on the 5th October, Bat for Lashes the Day before and electro legend Gary Numan on the 2nd December all fought hard for it, but the eventual winner had to be these metal nutters. I can’t guarantee everyone will actually still be in Cambridge when this gig goes on but it may actually be worth your time and money to stay especially for it. All I can really say about these guys is that they cross The Mars Volta with Metallica and then lob it in the blender with the song for the Big Blue track from F-Zero X on the N64, and if it sounds like some sort of vicious nightmare the result is surprising. Very rarely has a band made me smile as much as these guys in full flow, and for the sheer hair swinging mentalness of the guitar playing it’s hard for me to say that anyone should miss this. And even if you can’t bring yourself to enjoy the music, bringing along someone you dislike and nudging them into the mosh pit that is sure to develop will at least give you a reasonable chance of causing severe injury.  A result all round I think.

So there we go that’s your round up of live music coming up this term. Well not quite. What about the option for people who really hate live music? For people who enjoy watching vapid performances by soulless idiots who ruin brilliant songs with their frankly useless style of music and wet performance manner? Happily, you are catered for.

Newton Faulkner- Friday 23rd October, Corn Exchange

Frankly, he’s an insult to both music and human kind. His cover of “Teardrop” by Massive Attack was as bad as your average war crime, and his first album has probably been used as a method of torture for inmates of a certain Cuban prison for a while now. However, for your significant other (and I hope to god that this means girlfriend. If your boyfriend enjoys this, I worry) this may well make their year. Some people like this sloppy plop after all, how else can you explain James Blunt and Usher selling records, and you can win a lot of points taking the right person to this even if this appeals as much as car battery acid in the eye. I know I’ve bitten harsh bullets in my time to put my name in the good books, the film P.S. I Love you was a particularly large one, and hell with this, at least his support act might be alright. So take the plunge for someone you care about who likes this, but if you are the person who does like this you have serious work to do to make this up to the other. You’ve been warned.