Live Review

Great Escape 2009: LevisOnesToWatch, Audio

Black Lips run late. Standard procedure.

Audio is the hub of cool, chic… whatever, it’s where everything seems to be happening this weekend. Whether it be the exclusive and intimate barbecues, or the super special secret gigs; the surrounding area (bars too) are packed with punters desperately seeking popstars. For some reason, everyone seems to think it’s where the big fish hang. In many ways, they may have a point. Considering the afternoons fill up with a ridiculous amount of delegate passes and then some: the odd Mystery Jet, oh yeah, and Doherty.

Aside from all the glamour and the glory, it’s still a venue, with a stage and a bar serving Red Stripe, just like everywhere else. Audio’s downstairs is humid. Dark, sticky and reaking of beer and Sailor Jerry (‘cos if you’re a lady and can’t stand the tepid bubbliness of beer, Sailor Jerry supplies a sweet-release). Despite the varying and lingering smells, the room buzzes with life. The sort of life you’d find in a tent at a real outdoor festival: neon-clad tweenies, horrendously pissed thirty somethings and painfully aloof looking “cool-kids”. It’s great. The majority of them are here to see today’s headliners: Black Lips. But, no matter how drunk or confused they look, this lot have clearly got sense. Arriving three bands before the desired is always a safe bet. And the two on before the self-professed ‘flower punks’ should provide a decent backdrop to the wait.

First up are LA’s Mika Miko, the girl core of the West Coast noise apple. One of the bands made famous and trendy by their live shows at cult venue The Smell, it’s surprising how little everyone gives a shit about them being on stage. Excitement takes hold of only a small group, considering how many people are packed alongside the bar. The set is vibrant and vicious. Unlike fellow Smell bands No Age and Health, MM have a far more old-school punk sound to them. Tracks such as ‘I Got A Lot’ recalls East Coast 70s punk rock. And their stage presence, whilst lacking in violence, packs a punch full of attitude. Vivacious and well into it, the girls (and guy, hello drums) crash through a short set including saxophones, telephones and plenty, plenty of hormones. A sever lack of movement in the core of the audience prevents the rest of us from feeling comfortable in leap, and so ensues a toe-tapping epidemic. Still, Mika Miko kick ass.

Black Lips run late. Standard procedure. Impatience and childish excitement gets the better of everyone, as we gradually get merrier and merrier. Their eventual apparition drives the audience nuts; here we go… “It’s parrrrrrrrrty time!” “Oh Katrina!” comes second, fairly early considering this would be one of the better known tracks for most present. However, it would appear that tonight’s crowd know their stuff. The older the better. Tracks from past records please and tease, the mosh pit grows more and more violent as guys fly over our heads, landing head first onto the stage, only to be picked up by a member of the band and thrown back in. ‘Bad Kids’ does it: “it” being the explosion. It is now impossible to hold back. Cans fly, people cry- a mixture of joy and pure physical agony. Pain is a promise. Good pain though, no? Yes, yes indeed. The pain of one of the best nights of 2009’s Great Escape. But hang on… it’s only Thursday.

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