Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
London SE1 Royal Festival Hall
...about as perfect as music can get right now.
This is why ADF are currently the finest live act in the UK, and why they're selling out ever-larger venues the country over. Unlike ancestors Fun-Da-Mental, whose ground-breaking fusion was ultimately too bleak, too angry, to cross over like this, ADF know that without tongue-kissing your audience's soul with your music, your politics are gonna fall on deaf ears. Crucially, ADF never feel like a lesson that's being taught.
Seizing the common ground shared by both the dance and punk tribes, ADF know the audience are the stars. As Deedar, Chandrasonic and (finest of all) Sun-J bounce and skank, it's a resolutely ego-free performance, each ADF-er just lost in their own music.
Where ADF live used to sound like a riot in your head, tonight they sound like an exalted celebration. Songs like 'Naxalite' are about the ultimate triumph of the oppressed and augmented by live percussion, the Primal Scream horns and rappers Invasian (ADF Jr). And songs like 'New Way, New Life', 'Rebel Warrior' and 'Collective Mode' happen upon a radical blur of psychedelic brass tumbling over assassin-accurate grooves.
That ADF stretch out the moment over a whole hour-and-a-bit of glorious multi-orgasmic sonic collisions without once flagging is testament to their incandesence. They even get us dancing to "a seven-note raga" (Chandrasonic's description of 'Scaling New Heights') without once sounding like Spinal Tap. Effortless, righteous, but never self-righteous, and about as perfect as music can get right now.
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