Get into the moog...
“We’re in a void” jokes The High Llamas‘ Sean O’Hagan. Too right we are.
Picture the scene. It’s a Friday afternoon. It’s the hottest day of the year so far. We’re a pebble’s throw away from the beach. And we’re trapped in a black room with no windows, listening to The High Llamas doing the kind of Brian Wilson impression that would make the second round on ‘Stars In Their Eyes’. This is aural torture, make no mistake.
The Delgados turn up half an hour late, but are forgiven within minutes for providing the first (but probably not the last) use of a string section. The added lushness gives an often sparse sounding live show an extra dimension, and the new material aired from their forthcoming ‘The Great Eastern’ album hints at greater things to come.
And then came Stereolab. All Tomorrow’s Parties must be one of the few festivals in the world where Stereolab play and everyone doesn’t scarper headlong for the hills
Live, they are an interesting proposition at ATP, playing to the most captive, and also the most forgiving crowd of their career. And credit where credit’s due, they use it to test their boundaries. The band throw away all their ‘Emperor Tomato Ketchup’-era Moog driven pop within the first twenty minutes, and from then on in concentrate on pure, ear bleeding white noise. Ironically, it sends people scampering for the hills.