Our bright young gems may be eclectic in sound, but they’re all equally brilliant. The Duchess, York, Wednesday, September 30
This tour’s not a competition,” beams Gwilym Gold, glancing fondly at his newfound pals backstage. “We’re all family here.” And he’s not feeding us fibs, for with the surrounding three bands sharing beer, and all in Golden Silvers necklaces, the atmosphere tonight is downright cosy.
Unlike past Radar tours, which have grouped same-genre bands together (this May’s tour saw an ’80s synth-off between La Roux, Heartbreak and Magistrates, while Klaxons, CSS and New Young Pony Club locked rave-horns in 2007), this year’s is the clash of the genres.
First up are Yes Giantess who, despite having only had a five-minute soundcheck, deliver keyboard crunches the size of their soon-to-be mega pin-up statuses. From these new kids on the Brooklyn block we head over to Silver Lake, for LA’s Local Natives. Peeking over Howard Moon moustaches, they wash Beach Boys harmonies over cranked-up Fleet Foxes melodies, quietly stealing tonight’s show with ‘Sun Hands’ and their captivating take on Talking Heads’ ‘Warning Sign’.
Tragically, this treasure remains hidden from most, for the bulk of the crowd don’t roll in until Marina & The Diamonds, her catsuit and razzle-dazzle do. “I don’t write up-beat stuff, so Late Of The Pier are going to help us out,” she announces, prancing into a cover of their ‘Space And The Woods’. Usually eclipsed by their showgirl’s vocals, this cover gives her backing band a chance to bowl their sonic glitter ball into the spotlight and strike genius. Pulling Madonna-melodrama dance moves, cheekily nabbing Golden Silvers’ instruments and letting loose that almighty Hounds Of Love howl, single ‘Robot’ almost powers tonight’s loudest applause.
But that, would of course go to our headliners Golden Silvers. Gwilym’s mussed up his trademark Lego Elvis quiff, traded his purple tucks for an over-sized denim jacket and fired his vocals into molten trumpets. ‘Shakes’ is the most twisted crevice of Hendrix’s psyche on a comedown, while ‘True Romance’ has bulging new muscle thanks to newly sprouted confidence and an additional percussionist.
Of course, appearances and this newfound sonic bravery might just be the consequences of sleeping rough on a tourbus with no iron or camomile tea. If this is the case, roll this tour over into next year…