Live Review

Gentle Friendly, London Lexington

The sound never stops, it’s a wall of synth, with Daniel’s effervescent beating over the top.

“Who’s this on now?”

“Well, it’s supposed to be Gentle Friendly, but there’s only one half up there.”

I am wrong. I got the running order muddled up. Banjo or Freakout, THEN Gentle Friendly. For some reason, I’ve been labouring under the misapprehension that the former has a greater following than the latter. I think it’s probably about the same.

BOF is London dude Alessio Natalizia and a computer. Recorded, his songs sound like beautiful dreams that travel the world in a cloud of smoke before being softly blown into your ears by fairies. Live, it’s something different. Helped by one half of GF (Daniel, drums), they play like heavy tribal beats, Natalizia’s voice barely distinguishable above the raucous noise. It’s beautiful. The audience - intimate, discreet - is mesmerised. Sight affects just as much; Alessio looks as he sounds, magical. Daniel is equally fascinating in a GF makeshift mask: an A4 piece of card wrapped around the head with string. The hidden face aids toward the image of awkward mystery that exudes from Banjo or Freakout. Songs such as ‘Like You’ and ‘72(Everything Fast)’ float and land with a thump. It’s a double drums job. New single ‘Mr. No’, to be released on friend label No Pain In Pop in January, is the highlight of the set. The fact that there is no crowd communication does not hinder my enjoyment. Normally, I expect some acknowledgement, but not this time. I don’t want to be seen.

It’s a while before I come to and realise he’s gone. They’re both gone and my time to go to the loo, have a fag and get a drink is now limited. I get two thirds done before I hear noise: no drink now, must find a good spot.

Daniel and David are positioned on either side of the stage, facing one another: looks set to be another “ignore the audience” job. I don’t mind though. They start with a piece I’ve never heard before, which flows nicely and effortlessly into ‘Real Fighters (Have Real Fights)’. The sound never stops, it’s a wall of synth, with Daniel’s effervescent beating over the top. They smile, grin at one another: this is fun. Again, there is no movement in the crowd, apart from the odd positive head nodding. Static pleasure. They play with the sounds, they really do look like they’re having a good time, and that’s enough for me. ‘Sky Burial’ precedes much-loved ‘Ride Symbols’ before final track ‘Five Girl Night’. Quite a clever set really, as the last song is the one which has the most abrupt ending: they manage to play without stopping until they have to. Wicked.

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