Feature: Klaxons at Tripod Review / InterviewTweet
Review / Interview by Kevin Donnellan
Photos by Alessio Michelini
The Klaxons at Tripod – November 23rd 2010 with pre-gig interview
Jamie Reynolds hobbles into a back room upstairs in Tripod on crutches. “It’s an old football injury,” he explains. “I’ll be on crutches for another 3 months.” Klaxons are playing Tripod later this evening. The last time they played in Ireland was 2007, they appeared in the Ambassador (remember the Ambassador? It used to hold gigs way back when Ireland had an economy).
For a guy looking at 3 months of awkward crutch aided travel, Jamie is in remarkably good form. “It’s been an absolute pleasure to get to what we feel is home, we haven’t done a UK and Ireland tour in forever,” he says. “It’s insane, back to insanity.”
Ah yes the insanity. In 2007 the insanity included a Mercury prize, a best-selling debut album, sold-out raucous live shows and credit with defining a new genre; ‘New-rave’. It may not have been Beatles-mania but the Klaxons definitely caught the eye and ear of anyone who had ever bought NME.
The three-year gap between albums has let a lot of the air out of the bubble and their eventual follow-up ‘Surfing the Void’, while gaining generally positive reviews and selling well, hasn’t sparked the same type of excitement that ‘Myths of the Near Future’ has.
The delay in their second release was partly caused by the shelving of material recorded in 2009. The news that tracks recorded with producer James Ford would not be used for ‘Surfing the Void’ sparked predictable internet chat about record label interference. But Reynolds, understandably a little sick of talking about it, insists that they are proud of those tracks but they just weren’t right for the follow-up to ‘Myths..’
“Polydor will be releasing it in January’” he explains. “We won’t be touring it…we’re not looking for radio play or anything. But it’s part of our history so it should be out there.”
Talk turns to the Ross Robinson, producer of ‘Surfing..’ he seems to have been just the guy the band needed. Jamie can’t speak highly enough of him. “Ross was our savior, he came along and gave us the confidence that the band needed at that point in time,” he enthuses. “He put us through a rigorous training camp and spat us out the other side being a good and powerful band.”
And everything Jamie says for the duration of the interview reinforces his belief that Klaxons are indeed a ‘powerful’ band. A lot of musicians talk in bombastic, and generally deluded, terms about the capabilities of their band (see; Noel Gallagher, Johnny Borell), but Jamie just speaks with quiet conviction that his band are in for the long haul and capable of a lot more.
It helps that he’s likeable. When he refers to how ‘amazing’ they sound live at the moment, or talks of spiritual awakenings or mentions the London ‘scene’ he is very much part of. I remarkably don’t have the urge to punch him. It might be because everything he says is delivered with a laugh that suggests he knows that this whole ‘music career’ thing is faintly ridiculous. I like it.
Towards the end of our allotted fifteen minutes, talk turns to the next show in Berlin on the 27th. He mentions casually that he’s meeting a girl in Berlin that he’d met online. There’s a pause then he explodes with laughter on remembering who he’s talking to and how silly it sounds that he’s ‘internet dating’. He pretends to turn my Dictaphone off and accidentally pauses it, in an instant he becomes endearingly worried and apologetic that he might have screwed up the recording. I was looking forward to the seeing the Klaxons anyway but now I’m willing them to do well.
Five hours later the band appear on stage following a low-key warm-up by their DJ. The place is almost full; from the balcony I can see a small pocket of glow stick clad arms close to the stage but that’s it. It gives the gig a slightly melancholy feel, like a reunion tour in fast forward. There is already a sense that the Klaxons are a reminder of an era that was itself a reminder of another era. Photocopies of photocopies.
The set kicks off with ‘Flashover’ and ‘Same Space’ both from the new album. The band get a warm response but the crowd aren’t yet well versed in ‘Surfing..’ tracks. Three songs in and they play their first ‘Myths..’ songs ‘As Above So Below’. The crowd respond immediately with an upsurge in moshing. The rest of the set more or less follows this pattern with songs from the first album giving the crowd a kick while newer songs seem to just keep things ticking over.
Of course it takes time for an album to slip into the consciousness of even the most die-hard fan. Maybe by festival season next year the appreciation of Klaxons mrk II will be more pronounced. Crowd response aside, the songs are performed well, if a little too faithfully. ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ is tailor-made to escalate into a seven minute dance-off but it comes to a halt abruptly, ‘Golden Skans’ gets similar treatment. For the 12 songs that constitute the main set there is little sense that rave was ever part of the make-up of this band.
It’s only with the encore that Klaxons remind you why there was so much excitement around them three years ago. The lighting, strong throughout, comes into it’s own as the band rip though ‘It’s Not Over’, ‘Surfing the Void’ and a feedback heavy ‘Atlantis to Interzone’. It’s all flashing lights and frenetic guitar and keyboards as the crowd are finally given the chance to let loose. And as quickly as it starts it stops.
So where now for Klaxons? They have a four album deal with Polydor, one of the last modern indie-bands to have such stability. Maybe over time and with two more albums they will become a band with the variety to have some staying power. But at the moment they aren’t looking strong enough to break out of a highlights reel for 2007. If they don’t well then they had some pretty great highs, but after speaking with Jamie Reynolds I’m hoping they do.
As Above So Below
It’s Not Over Yet
Surfing The Void
Atlantis To Interzone