Luke’s Alphabet Tour – I: I Am in Love at London Old Blue Last – 1st May 2012

By on Tuesday, 15th May 2012 at 2:00 pm

The Old Blue Last is famed for pioneering some of the most weird and wonderful music, from the frantic progressives to the twee electro, this upstairs function room has seen it all. Tonight’s headliners lean toward the latter, although not exactly twee. The pumping synth-pop stylings of I Am in Love are topping tonight’s bill, but keeping the beer-swilling bodies warm tonight are local favourites You and Others Around You.

Although actually a three-piece, tonight the band are without their synth player Layla Kim so it’s down to Dan Robinski and Ed Ross to deliver the goods. The influence of Talking Heads is apparent from the beginning with the erratic, bopping dance beat, that’s powered forward by the new wave drum machine rhythm. Shoreditch laps it up. The performance, though, is stuttering and uneventful. Robinski’s vocals complement the music well but his Ian Curtis impression begins to wear thin with the fixated stare and jittery dance moves. However, ‘Two Twenty Two’ drowns the audience in Strokes-like guitar whilst the infectious nature of ‘Dance Like A Vegetable’ wins over a section of OBL who don their boogie boots ready for the headliners.

I Am in Love’s show tonight was originally a release party for their new single, ‘Palms’, but the release date has been pushed back later this year. Despite this, the electro-laden, indie-pop quartet attempt to get the party started with an array of old and new material. The twinkly keys and deep bass add a necessary pace to the performance that sadly takes a while to kick off. Generally, I Am in Love aren’t a ‘get up and go’ band to throw yourself around to, but there’s the beginnings of gentle bobbing in the crowd.

Unfortunately, though, tonight’s bill-toppers aren’t on top form. Rushing through ‘Fall the Line’, ‘Palm’ and ‘Get a Grip’, an element on ’80s synthpop rears its head but neither those on or off stage are fully engaged. Setting up a tom drum in the crowd sees the eyeline fill with camera phones, but it’s case of style over substance for the Leicester-cum-London four-piece. ‘Call Me An Animal’ fills the room with a huge sci-fi vibe akin to Errors but the passion appears to have been drained. Throughout the night there are elements of something innovative and special heard in the powerful instrumentals and electro hooks, but nowadays a band cannot rely on musicianship alone. If you don’t feel it then the crowd won’t feel it. And tonight there was definitely something missing.

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