Asobi Seksu, Exit Calm, Dean And Britta

Angus Reid 19/06/2007

Although Dean and Britta are the headliners of this gig, bearing a former member of Galaxie 500, all the fuss seems to be revolving around Asobi Seksu in the run up to tonight. The prospect of J-Pop meets shoe gaze seems to have attracted the attention of a great deal of the press, and it's not long before the Metro is packed to the rafters.

Before all of that however, we have Exit Calm. With a stunningly loud guitar shaking the walls of the Metro, Exit Calm plunge the few early attendees into early Verve territory, and it's pretty ace actually. Their show is all hypnotic bass lines, powerful rock drumming, swaggering attitude and that wall of guitar sound. Only downside is the vocalist, whose voice seems a little at odds with the rest of the band, sounding like a lower pitched Grant Nichols from Feeder. After they've finished their set to a round of polite applause (somewhat understated considering the show they've just put on) people suddenly emerge from nowhere and fill the tiny club.

With the place rammed, Asobi Seksu take the stage, and so begins a set of white noise guitar, high, melodic vocals, crashing drums and, well, not much else. The bass appears to have been lost in the murk somewhere, and the vocal only appears over the top very sporadically, so it's pretty hard to distinguish one song from another, or indeed even one note from another. They're putting a lot of energy in, especially the drummer, but the only sound coming out is drums and static hiss that resembles a guitar in some sense.

It's a bit of a shame really as the fragments of melody that can be picked up on are graceful, sweetly sung pop songs just begging to show you a good time. The bassist could be miming, and it wouldn't make a difference, but if he is miming, he's certainly getting into it.

Potentially a great gig destroyed by poor sound - understandable in some venues, but when Exit Calm have just wigged out with nigh on perfect sound, you have to wonder if it's the sound man or the band that has to take responsibility. Either way, it's hard to tell if Asobi Seksu were good or not, and I was too tired to hang around for Dean And Britta, though I have since been assured that they were awesome.

I'm going to have to split ratings for this one thus:

Exit Calm 4/5
Asobi Seksu 2.5/5