The Rapture
@ Leeds Met

New York-based party starters The Rapture are largely credited with launching the current all-pervading trend of splicing rock and dance music, chiefly with their 2003 dancefloor-assaulting single ‘House Of Jealous Lovers’. Since then you’ll have heard most guitar bands slinging a few disco beats in with their guitar chords, but it takes skill to inject a full-on party atmosphere into the often po-faced post-punk scene.

The Rapture succeed in doing this with (cow) bells on, transforming a Monday night gig at the Leeds Met into one big disco, with every member of the rammed-to-bursting venue dancing and singing away like they were at a New York rave-up. The four people onstage look like they’re having just as much fun throughout, with their nonchalant posturing of yore now replaced with huge grins and random dance moves. Their keyboard player-cum-saxophonist, for instance, spends the majority of the show dancing in a Bez-like fashion, whacking an enormous cowbell and egging on the crowd. Meanwhile, frontman Luke Jenner seems to have discovered his inner rock god, and can be found either widdling his guitar like his life depended on it, or practising his current party trick of pretending to shoot his audience with it.

If all this so far sounds like one big display of dim-wittedness and tomfoolery, then this would be a gross disservice to the quality and inventiveness of The Rapture’s music. Although they could be lazily lumped in with the punk-funk brigade, that would only be because they play guitars and are indeed very funky. In fact they are greatly indebted to much of the eighties sound, with an abundance of synths and saxophones. Recent single ‘Get Myself Into It’ sounds like The Police-gone-disco (especially with Jenner’s Sting-like vocals), and follow-up ‘Whoo Alright Yeah Uh Huh’ sounds to me like a bit of old-school hip-hop.

After dispensing with all the singles early on, the musical blueprint is stretched even further when they bring out the big guns for the encore, in the form of extra keyboards and turntables. Their set is then completed with tunes which are more like pure dance music than anything which preceded, using pounding basslines, vocal wizardry and some well-placed saxophones to create something more along the lines of acid house.. but much better.

Predictably, the already excitable crowd go completely barmy when the pace is cranked up a notch toward the end, and when the lights finally go up we are left with the sight of Jenner flinging himself into the crowd for the third time that night, being carried away on a sea of hands with a huge grin plastered across his face.

Kelly Waugh