...about as perfect as music can get right now.
Two minutes in, and not one person’s still sitting down. Even in this hallowed hall, no-one can resist [a]ADF[/a]’s synapse-twanging soundclash. The song is ‘Real Great Britain’, a mass of spasming breakbeats and dubbed-out echoey noise-bleed. It’s a smart musing on the shifting identity of Britain’s (multi)culture, but in the moment you’re not aware of the message seeping into your skull. Not when the medium’s so goddamn fine.
This is why [a]ADF[/a] 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, [a]ADF[/a] know that without tongue-kissing your audience’s soul with your music, your politics are gonna fall on deaf ears. Crucially, [a]ADF[/a] never feel like a lesson that’s being taught.
Seizing the common ground shared by both the dance and punk tribes, [a]ADF[/a] 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 [a]ADF[/a]-er just lost in their own music.
Where [a]ADF[/a] 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 ([a]ADF[/a] 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 [a]ADF[/a] 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.