New Rave's a funny term. I'm inclined to think that whilst the Klaxons are an excellent band they've had the misfortune to have had a scene built around them which doesn't do their multifarious talents justice. As far as I know, there are only two (three, at a push) of their songs that have any kid of rave element to them at all. What they are is a kick ass rock band you can dance to. And whilst they don't sound at all alike, you could say the same of our first band tonight - Foals. And disregarding all the hype, fake scenes and bandwagons, in these two we have bands that are bigger than the tags, bigger than the people who assign the tags to them, bigger than the individuals in them. In Foals especially, as witnessed tonight, we've found the most incredible band we've heard in years.
The disco Shellac. Math rock dance pop. The greatest young band I've ever seen. I've been calling Foals each of these silly yet well meant things in conversations with my friends when really, words fail me. All I want to do is grab them by the shoulders, shake them vigorously and shout 'SEE FOALS! See them now!' Foals grabbed me in such a way that night - their taught rhythmic prowess wouldn't let go of my legs, making them do all kinds of strange things that they've never, ever done for another band. Yes, I boogied like an idiot - the whole room did - but it wasn't because this was throwaway goodtime music, it was because not only did Foals sound so fresh, so daring and original, so darn harsh, but they did it all in a way that meant I could not possibly stand still. I'd have been lying to my limbs if I'd sent them the signals to remain where they were. I wouldn't have been giving them band what they deserved. I wouldn't have felt a part of this bizarrely communal experience. I wouldn't have been involved in what was one of the sets of the year.
Now what we did to deserve that was anyone's guess. But given that it was followed by yet another exhibition of utter rock and roll grace and style, anyone believing in Karma would be thinking that each of us in the Buffalo Bar tonight had given our life savings to tramps on our way to the venue. The Noisettes cap this most marvellous of fourth anniversaries with a set as vital as the one just seen by Foals but for different reasons. Where Foals (who we're delighted to announce signed to our sister label Transgressive records shortly after this night) are almost scientifically complex and stunning with it, The Noisettes grab their attention with a raw, unstoppable primal power. Resistance isn't futile, it's just totally pointless, and the actions of someone trying to be cool and not trying hard enough - who could honestly admit to not loving the Noisettes live? Tw*ts, that's who.
Brutal they may be, but they're incredibly stylish with it. This isn't just because Shinghai Shoniwa is the greatest frontwoman you'll ever see (Karen O looks paralysed in comparison) and dresses like a kid having the time of her life in her mum's wardrobe, grinning her way through her runs over the stage, DJ booth and audience (all mid song, we might add), but because as a band the Noisettes are excellent songwriters. Sure 'Don't Give Up' and 'Scratch Your Name' are pummelling rock masterpieces, but it's in their quieter moments such as the excellent 'The Count of Monte Christo' especially that the depth of this band is revealed. If their debut full length 'What's the Time Mr. Wolf?', released early next year, contains a tenth of the energy displayed in this exemplary set then we've found our record of 2007 already. And what a corker it is.
Here's to the next four years.
All photos copyright Hannah Thomas.