Middlesborough Arena

When [a]Conemelt[/a] last played live they wore T-shirts that collectively read 'Boring Live Act'...

When Conemelt last played live they wore T-shirts that collectively read 'Boring Live Act'. Tonight only one of the Tonbridge three has remembered his uniform, so it's merely an 'Act'. Little else has changed, though: Conemelt are still a boring live act to watch. It doesn't help, either, that the volume is so low you can have a conversation during their set.

To make matters more complicated, the band are airing brand new material, stuff that's not even on their imminent 'Sticklebrick City' album. What madness is this? Well, like all things loosely connected to Conemelt, it involves significant quantities of acid (the sound, that is) and a general agreement that techno hasn't moved on greatly since Underworld's debut album. Which is obviously wrong, but let them convince you otherwise as they coax rubber-coated tech-funk from their machines and fry 'She's A Bit Previous' and 'Pumas In My Garden' in deep vats of acid.

The sole album track played, 'Wide Bertha', meanwhile, has the same manic, kinetic energy that informed Squarepusher's pre-jazz doodlings, while toughened Cone classic 'Live In Taffeta' ironically drags the band back into the present, if not yet the future. Whether they'll eventually get there depends on their imaginations. For the moment, perhaps, it's the future they're afraid of.

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