Live Review

Alphabeat, Koko, London

While saying negative things about Alphabeat feels as wrong as kicking a puppy down a flight of stairs, criticise we must.

DIY has a confession. We love Alphabeat. We’re familiar with them, we‘ve seem them strut their funky stuff live more than once. Yes, we know we’re meant to be objective, we keep an open mind but we admit when we arrived we were confident that Alphabeat would shine and that the outcome of this review was already a settled matter. How wrong we were. Expecting to leave Koko with wide smiles and feet tired from dancing, we were proven incorrect. We certainly didn’t think we would depart this particular gig disconcerted, confused and more than a little bit disappointed.

While saying negative things about Alphabeat feels as wrong as kicking a puppy down a flight of stairs, criticise we must. There was a strange feeling about this concert; despite their enormous recent chart success the band themselves seemed fairly lacklustre, this is excepting Anders SG, who, as per usual, was a sweaty and attractive ball of energy but even he lacked a certain spark tonight. From the overly long intro to ‘Fantastic Six’ to the overindulgent musical interludes between the songs, we felt things just weren’t right. ‘What is happening’ felt sluggish and tired, ’Public image’ was merely perfunctory and ’Touch Me Touching You’ lacked that naughty spirit we’ve seen demonstrated before. The cover of ‘Push The Button’ failed to ignite and we were stunned and appalled by the decision to turn ‘Rubber Boots/Mackintosh’ into a euro-rave travesty. Heads must roll.

‘10000 nights’ was a breath of fresh air in a set full of unnecessary distraction and we would have openly wept if the band had tinkered with ‘Fascination’. Thankfully, it was still the iridescent pop triumph we know and love and, at last, some order was restored to the musical universe.

It pains us to say but, really, it was an unsettlingly and unsatisfying night all round. Though the majority of the crowd seemed to lap it up, how many of them had seen Alphabeat before and seem them ten times better? All their pop gems were hidden amongst live overproduction, there is something known as too much synth and, worst of all, we strongly suspected there was miming going on during some of the bands trademark harmonies.

We sincerely hope that Alphabeat return to plan A on the live front. No-one really wants a carbon copy of a record when seeing a band live but Alphabeat went too far the other way. Almost unrecognisable in places at this gig, Alphabeat need to come back to themselves, resist the temptation of excess and get back to their inspirational pop best.

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