Chris Farrance 17/07/2010
Underworld Live @ I tunes festival
Lager Lager Shouting we don't do Cider…Oh dear!. Yes you may have guessed that tonight the Camden Roundhouse is host to Trainspotting 90's electronic, dance legends Underworld. It also turns out there's no Cider at the Roundhouse this evening. Clearly the Cider situation is not important, but it just goes to show that you can't always predict the night ahead.
The support for Underworld tonight was from Kele, fresh from Bloc Party with his new solo album 'The Boxer' he brought some lovely backing band mates with him, who really looked happy to be up there, and why not! With only one album of material to play through Kele did an excellent job to keep the crowd up beat with his new sound (which is always gonna sound like Bloc Party, he is the singer!). The electronic sample laden songs filled the Roundhouse and Kele was more confident than I had ever seen him before. He commanded the lead singer/crowd dance off throughout the set, ending with stand out song 'All the things I could never say'. Just before leaving the stage he gathered his backing band pals and gave us all a lovely bow and showed his support for Underworld describing them as “one of the best talents this country has ever produced”.
All of the Kele fans then ushered past to the back of the Roundhouse to order Jager bombs and do flaming shots of Sambucca off each others nipples. Or at least I imagine that's what the younger crowd would do at the Roundhouse tonight, to make way for, and when I say hardcore Underworld fans, I really mean hardcore! This also goes some way to explain where all the cider went as the woman next to me, who I can only describe as probably an aunt I never knew, was already dancing to Underworld who weren't on for another five minutes!
As the adverts for all the other I Tunes festival bands played out on the huge multi angled screens, the cameraman took to his position. Then on walked Hyde and Smith, to the joy of all the Underworld fans that filled the roundhouse tonight with their whistles and hand movements.
The set opened with some newer songs, which still delighted the sea of dancing fans, who were all on there I-phones trying to catch a clip of Karl Hyde as he took to his guitar every so often. It's clear that despite 20 plus years in the business these Romford boys can still command a crowd, and also gain new fans. As the tracks moved onto dance classics such as 'Two months off' and 'Cow girl' you could pan across the crowd of bobbing heads and see old and young faces really feeling part of the sound. There was no doubting the control Hyde has over his followers, as he dances in an almost hypnotic way in front of white screens that he is projected on to. The lyrics are poetic and hard to hear but they take second place to the music and video show that has taken over the whole building now.
Looking up at the upper circle, which is just above me, I can see everyone on their feet as each song slips subtly into the next building up to what everyone is wanting to hear 'Born Slippy Nuxx'. A song that was originally a B-side when it was used in the movie Trainspotting, catapulted the band into dance floor gods and onto influenced many bands since. As everyone is screaming with euphoria you can see that this song still means a lot to the band and all of their fans. Two of which, who resemble the scary Essex version of little and large, have created a human totem pole to dance and sing out to their much loved underworld.
The night ends with no encore as this is the I tunes festival and time is money! No matter as Underworld have played a crowd pleasing set and you can hear their influences on bands including Bloc Party with one song resembling Bloc Party's 'Flux' and I'm certain many more bands trying to bridge the gap will draw on Underworld as inspiration subconsciously.
As I am on my train home to Romford watching the man in front of me slowly and quietly vomit on himself, I am reminded of what Underworld songs are about. They are about real people, going out and having a bit too much to drink and just living, although this guy in front of me really doesn't look well. All of the crowd here tonight were there for the same reason they wanted to be part of the Underworld show and I don't think anyone would have gone home disappointed.