Errors, So So Modern, Racehorses
Luke Fussell 04/03/2010
The last time I saw Errors was at their bizarrely-slotted lunchtime main stage performance at Field Day last year. That day saw them play to a field that wasn't quite as full as they deserved, and the crowd certainly not as intoxicated as needed to be to get things moving. I was left with a sense that perhaps they had bitten off a little more than they could chew with that festival, and that perhaps their sound was more suited to a small, intimate venue full of synth-geeks and skinny jeans. Just over 6 months later and it seems that a very different story is emerging for the Glasgow 4 piece, however.
After waiting for more than 40 minutes in the chilly Kings Cross air for my cohort to arrive, I was keen to get in amongst it. When we made it to the main room we had apparently not only missed the first band, So So Modern, but had also been transported back in time to the late sixties. Well, at least half way. The front man of Racehorses had gone to some lengths to ape the look and sound of The Monkees, whilst the drummer was sporting the most amazing mohair jumper/Kevin Keegan super-mop combo that simply had to be seen to be believed. Whilst the other 2 members of the band were clearly not so committed to the image of their compatriots, the four-piece were nonetheless sonically unified and clearly thoroughly enjoying themselves. Influences from Super Furry Animals were clearly audible, whilst some elements of their set recalled the relentless up-beat mayhem of Of Montreal, with hint of Hard Days Night era Beatles thrown in for good measure. As their allotted half hour wore on however, it felt as if they had run low on ideas and the un-erring, smiley-faced enthusiasm of the lead singer was not quite enough to keep the crowd interested. Their final song was uncharacteristically thrashy and post-rock and, although at first a refreshing change, quickly felt a little incongruous and I found myself wondering how they got to be supporting an instrumental electro outfit in the first place. Perhaps it was the silk shirts.
In fact it seemed to be a night for big smiles all round. Drummer James Hamilton was beaming as he took to his kit ahead of the rest of the band. As the first ambient chords of new-album opener Bridge or Cloud? gave way to an emphatic drum rhythm and some Lion King-esque chants from guitarist and African smock aficionado Greg Paterson, it was clear that this was a band that was excited to be making music, and it was a joy to watch them at work. After the first track, 'front man' (if there is such a thing for a band with no singer) Simon Ward greeted the crowd in his usual deadpan style but with a slight hint of gushing thanks to everyone for turning up. Despite his inherently sarcastic tone, it was clear by his grin that he did in fact mean it.
Unsurprisingly, the set featured a large number of tracks from their recently released second album Come Down With Me, as well as some favourites from their first 2 releases, some of which had been heavily reworked. It took me a good minute to work out that the song that was gradually crescendo-ing around me was in fact Toes. and when at around the mid-point of their set, their breakthrough hit Mr. Milk started up, it was with no small amount of guitar glitching and synth tweaking to give a thoroughly different sound to that on the record.
The over-riding feeling of the night was that of a band confident in themselves and having a good time. That said, it is no doubt easy to come across as relaxed when your set has been so meticulously crafted. Constructed to gradually build and build momentum before hitting the audience with their trademark dance hooks, it is surely credit to a band with no singer that at no point did I find myself missing a vocal line or feeling that any more was needed: the intricacy and fullness of sound left nobody wanting.
To round off the night an encore of crowd favourite Pump had the whole place jumping - not to mention the other bands - all of what I later found out was So So Modern took tambourine to stage for the finale and completed the party atmosphere with some style. This is a band who are on the top of the world and on top of their game. Let's all hope that at their next festival they might actually be put on at a time of day when people actually feel inclined to dance: it'll be something a bit special, I'm sure of it.