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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Live: Alcopopalooza! @ The Windmill Brixton (Part 2)

So by the time evening sets in we’ve already been treated to enough ace pop that we’re feeling spoilt. Mrs KPL is tired too. Bless her. But there’s a whole night of amazing music to come. Part 1 of the KPL Alcopopalooza review was all about those non-Alcopop! acts that got us all warmed up and hot under the collar. Now it’s time to hear about how the core of Team PoP! did…

In front of a packed crowd, The Attika State took to the stage. Aside that is from singer Rudi Barella who decided that just in the crowd was a better place to belt out some PoP hits from. Opening with a couple of older tracks they instantly connect with the audience, the frontline of which knows every word and ever beat. Mixing in these older songs with tracks from Alcopop! released album Measures proves to be an inspired move as we all get a full picture of what The Attika State is all about. ‘The Horton Shuffle’ and ‘Celebration’ prove to be highlights, but every single one of their songs sounds as though it could overtake the world with a huge hook and energetic guitars.

The reception for Ute is slightly more subdued, with a smaller crowd gathering for the start of their set. It’s unsurprising really as the band are by far the most leftfield on the Alcopop! roster. Bookending the set with tracks from The Gambler EP their music comes across at various times like a darker Villagers or psychedelic Young Knives. There’s a lot of talent in this three piece at when they decide to break from proceedings to let out a bout of screaming (as they do during ‘The Innocent Tailor’) it’s equal parts baffling, entertaining and freighting.

On paper putting the two most similar acts on the bill next to each other seems like a false move, but when watching Jumping Ships and LighGuides in quick succession their differences become far more apparent than their similarities. Jumping Ships play what already feels like a greatest hits set. ‘Matterhorn’, ‘Bad Outweighed The Good’ and ‘Heart And Hope’ already sound much bigger than the venue with the latter being one of the best and most memorable tracks of the night. The set seems to be over really quickly and we’re left wondering how it is that Jumping Ships aren’t already massive.

LightGuides on the other hand (with their three-piece set up of two guitars and drums) sound far louder and more experimental than my far-too-limited interaction has lead me to believe they were. With one guitar creating the backbone of the music and the second one assaulting with ears and effects the band prove to be very unique and a great find. Never doubt Alcopop!.

Main support to Johnny Foreigner comes from Alcopop!’s longest serving band My First Tooth whose set is utterly delightful. With a three-piece frontline and a drummer at the back it’s shocking just how talented they are. Although lead vocal duties are dealt with by singer/guitarist Ross it’s violinist/singer/multi-instrumentalist Sophie who proves to be centre of focus, seemingly charged with interacting with the entranced crowd. Tracks from Territories are given an airing including beautiful recent single ‘Sleet And Snow’, a magical, pretty indiepop-folk song that’s miles and miles ahead of any other band operating in the sub-genre. If I’ve perhaps ignored My First Tooth in favour of the labels more immediate acts in the past I can guarantee that it won’t be happening in the future.

Not that I’ll be ditching Johnny Foreigner any time yet of course. I’ve got to a stage in my life where I don’t think that any band will mean as much to me as Pulp. Yet, instead of heading down to Hyde Park the previous weekend to see Jarvis & Co. it’s this week that I’ve come to Brixton and JoFo are the main reason. If there’s one band that could steal my heart and head from Pulp it’s them. I know this and. Then why am I always surprised at just how much they make my heart skip whenever I see them perform?

With Alexei and Kelly starting in the crowd, singing without amplification Junior is left to recreate the piano part of ‘Johnny Foreigner Vs You’ (from the frisbee EP) before the other two join him for a noisy shouty finish. It’s the start of another wonderful set, that the only fault I can find is that I have to leave just before the end to catch the last tube. ‘Lea Room’ and ‘Eyes Wide Terrified’ are aired from their debut whilst plenty of new songs squeeze into the set sounding punchier than the band have ever been. If nothing else I can barely contain my excitement at the prospect of a forthcoming album for the proper version of ‘With Who, Who And What I’ve Got’.

Still, as ever it’s ‘Salt Peppa And Spinderella’ that steals the show. The frontline of the audience (that includes Alcopop! mastermind Jack) is a mass of hair as they go absolutely mental. Could it be one of the best songs of all time? Of course it bloody is!

So we have to dash before JoFo finish. It’s a shame really but we can’t risk missing the train. We’ve not had a go on the Megadrive either. Ah well, a day of awesome pop and awesome company. Plus apparently we managed to drink the Windmill dry of Blackthrorn.

Keep Pop Loud

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