WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE? Oslo, Hackney
SETLIST: 10,000 Nights; Fantastic Six; Vacation; Love Sea; Always Up; Boyfriend; What’s Happening; Goldmine; Shadows; Go Go; The Spell; DJ; TMTU; Sing A Song; Heat Wave; Fascination
The afternoon on the day before this gig we discover that its venue has changed from the Borderline in Soho to this upstairs venue at a Scandinavian-named site miles across town in east London.
- Read on for reasons including what the future holds for Alphabeat
Water damage was blamed at the Borderline but, if it all seems a bit last minute and ramshackle, it appears very much in keeping with Alphabeat, the Danish band who swept to UK stardom in 2008 on the crest of hit Fascination and puttered out of action five years and three LPs later.
This year they regrouped, signed a new record deal and played comeback gigs in the US and Denmark. Last night was their 1st London gig since we saw them for about the 6th time in 2013 in Camden when they didn’t appear to be having as much fun with their material as they are now.
There’s a smattering of new songs tonight and current single Shadows (see below) sounds to us a little like a speeded up early 90s Saint Etienne and there’s other songs which give a glimpse of the bright future in store for the band.
Sing A Song‘s lyrics seem a little autobiographical and the band are held in such esteem by their ardent fanbase that tonight feels very much a celebration of the past but also an early blast of the joys that are to come.
Wonky pop was the phrase used by the band to describe their music in their heyday and having 2 lead singers means their live gigs are always a rabble-rousing treat.
We still don’t understand why the Black Box-sounding The Spell from their 2nd major label LP didn’t go on to enjoy the success of pop thriller predecessors Fascination and Boyfriend but sometimes life doesn’t quite turn out how you expect it, whatever is deserved.
Anders G, in particular, seems to be loving being back in the spotlight and dives into the crowd at the gig’s close to make the most of the fans’ adulation.
We get the impression that Stine (pictured top and above) is the heart and soul of the band and she seems genuinely thrilled by the London response – as were we. We’re only not giving this 5* because we suspect the band has even better within them to give us.