DAVID HOLLAND reviews the Klaxons at the Junction
The Junction, 17th November, 7.30. £16.
The first Klaxons album was fantastic. It was fresh, catchy and intriguing: good reasons why it reached #2 in the charts and won the coveted Mercury Music award. The singles that were released were well received and the band genuinely restored critics’ faith that all was not lost in the alternative rock world. Three years later their second album had a pretty tough act to follow. Initially rejected by the record company for being ‘too experimental’ the band had to go back and tone down their new sound. I was genuinely excited to see how they would sound live.
The Junction was fairly empty, but it filled up throughout the evening and proved to be a good venue to see the Klaxons in. The support act was a sort of post-punk/new-wave revival group called Fiction. These guys were genuinely brilliant, opting to use a mix of floor toms and synth-drums rather than a traditional drum kit; they came dangerously close to upstaging the main act.
At the stroke of nine the lights dimmed and the crowd went mental. The band jumped straight into their set as the lights came up opening with a selection from their new album. The difference in reception between old and new tracks was palpable in the crowd. Newer tracks were well received, but when old classics such ‘Magick’, ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ or ‘Golden Skans’ were played the crowed were ecstatic and the energy in the room really picked up. Throughout the entire performance the Klaxons maintained the euphoric atmosphere: they genuinely seemed to be feeding off the reaction they were getting from the small, but enthusiastic crowd.
Live they seem a lot heavier, a lot rockier than they do as recorded artists. Whether you think this is a good thing depends on your taste, but personally I found it to be a minor disappointment. The entire show was of a decent quality throughout, but enjoyment of the performance varied a lot depending on the tracks. Some of the material even sounded dangerously close to ‘filler’, and it was obvious that a lot of the crowd were waiting for the hits to be played.
The crowd were by far the most annoying part of the evening. I know, this isn’t a student event and thus ‘real people’ will be there too, and that’s fine, but the average age of the audience was about 16. A girl who still had braces tried to headbutt me and the boy next to me had his voice break whilst shouting ‘you fucking rock’. The problem with such a prevalence of the pubescent at gigs is just how over-excited they get. Half a joint that their mate’s brother sold them and the 4 cans of Strongbow they blagged off of their dad and they think they’re seeing bloody Slipknot. Being moshed by stoned children did put rather a blemish on what was otherwise a solid gig. I have to admit though, if I had paid £16 I’d have felt overcharged.
The band’s performance was passionate and animated, and despite some of the newer material seeming flawed in comparison to other tracks, the show was pretty good. The band maturing away from their fresh-faced early days hasn’t done their music any favours, but it’s obvious from their performance that they relish in playing live.
Photography by Abigail Lander