Reindeer Section : London South Bank Royal Festival Hall

The Reindeer Section[/url] - consisting of a lot of Scottish blokes from twee bands like Belle & Sebastian and Mull Historical Society

There’s an old woman, possibly in her early eighties, ushering us to our seats. The last time we saw her was when we checked out ‘Toad Of Toad Hall’ with school back in 1985. She had to deal with a lot of rowdy kids with greasy hair, nerdy specs and anoraks back then. She’s pretty much doing the same tonight. That’s what happens when indie comes to the Royal Festival Hall.

Still, she’s ushering us to our seat and saying “luv” a lot, which is not something that happens much down the Bull & Gate. And while that venue is far more suited for some of the bands playing this celebration of strum (we’ve already been six-stringed-out by David Kitt and Witness), with Simian you get the feeling that they could quite easily do a residency here. This is the Church Of Simian, after all, baroque and hymnal enough to fill a room like this with psychedelic sound. And they’re backed by a quickfire series of projections that do what you never thought projections actually could do at a gig – bring new depths to the songs themselves. Consequently, you realise ‘Drop And Roll’ is about Satanism and black magick. Possibly.

The last time we saw Simian, soundtracking an arthouse insect movie at the ICA, they were astonishing. Tonight, something’s lacking, mainly the propulsive beats that drive songs like ‘The Wisp’ on record, which fail to be replicated adequately by their live drummer. And ‘One Dimension’ begins to sound like The Waterboys. But then we could be getting delirious due to nicotine withdrawal, since you can’t fucking smoke in this place.

The bongo player in The Reindeer Section, however, [I]is[/I] smoking, and smoking defiantly in the face of restrictions. It’s a good job he’s keeping himself occupied, because he rarely actually plays the bongos, and when he does you can’t hear them. The Reindeer Section

are a bit of a shambles. [I]”I can’t believe a bunch of monkeys like us are playing here,” snickers Gary Lightbody repeatedly through the course of their chaotic set. We can’t believe a bunch of monkeys like you ever got it together enough to make a record, let alone tour it.

The Reindeer Section – consisting of a lot of Scottish blokes from twee bands like Belle & Sebastian

and Mull Historical Society – are like the Justice League Of America of indie. That would make Aidan MoffatSuperman, and Lee from Alfie, like, Captain America or something. Like any supergroup, there’s bits here from all their dayjob combos. Is that a melody that drives ‘Will You Please Be There For Me’?Must be Astrid’s input. Bit of dark

lyricism in ‘Nytol’? That’ll be the Strap. A lot of fannying about with no real point? Well, this is the lead singer of Snow Patrol’s band after all.

Gary gets naked at the end of the set. Downstairs, Lee fromAlfie‘s

pissed, wandering around with Damon Gough. The old woman doesn’t think they’ll have this lot back again.

Christian Ward