New Young Pony Club
@ Leeds Met
This New Rave thing is SO fake – students with glow sticks and painted faces. It’s like a re-creation of a Top Of The Pops safety version of rave. Where rave was about all-night tranced dancing into an altered state, this is about beer, chanting ‘Yorkshire, Yorkshire’, dressing up and listening to indie bands playing to a dancy beat. Anyone who was seriously into rave and is still clubbing wouldn’t be seen dead at an event like this, where a ‘scene’ is mimicked for money. Like, find a new scene, don’t pretend to be your mad uncle. All the bands tonight (The NME Indie Rave Tour – Klaxons, etc) are plenty of fun but have a shelf-life not much longer than a box of Frosties left open in the cupboard in a damp bedsit.
Pity the band that has to be on first of four. Thankfully they seem to have brought a lot of friends – members of their street-team are all over after, with promo memorabilia to give away. New Young Pony Club have to play to a quarter-full but filling room and make a brave show of it. The drummer plays a straight House 4/4 beat on the kick drum with a few slight frills on top. The sound is big and loud. The singer has been poured into a purple sparkly dress and I wish I’d got the photo-pass in time to show it to you, dear reader. She works hard, she knows it’s not an easy slot, she dances, poses, puts on silly sunglasses, pouts and works the crowd as best she can. The bass adds very little to the synth sequencer but the keys add a bit of Human League and the rhythm guitar makes it all sound a bit euro-disco. Sort of happy-clappy. And that’s the problem – the New Rave seems to be the Old Disco. It’s people playing indie on top of a dance beat. I’m all in favour of live dance music and I think it’s about time we spent more time shaking our booty and less facing front and worshipping the guitar gods on stage. But I’d be referencing people like Ozric Tentacles and offshoots, where the beat is allowed to hit a groove that urges your feet to dance instead of short pop songs overlaid on a chart-friendly beat.
Ms Purple Spangles gets applause after the second song and announces “If you eat all your greens, you get dessert. Nothing more, nothing less”. This gnomic utterance gets a bewildered silence and the band sets off again. I notice the guitar player sports a rather special porn-star moustache. Once or twice the beat breaks away and I hear him chipping in lines with that ‘Edge’ tone favoured by revivalist bands from the last few years. The beat is largely pedestrian, though, and needs histrionics or tunes to make it any more than run of the mill. The songs are really about having a sassy front woman and, without a video, the studio work will need to flesh out her voice. The current MySpace tracks seem to downplay the voice in favour of remix farting around. With a bit of production, dynamics could be added that’d give this band the excitement needed for a decent record. At the moment they are also-rans live with, maybe, a good record inside them. With Island Records behind them, they’ll hopefully get a chance to work on that side of themselves some time soon.