Cornershop : London Scala

Cornershop don't need anyone's help anymore...

When Fatboy Slim remixed their joyous indie chugger ‘Brimful Of Asha’ in 1998, [a]Cornershop[/a]

found themselves in the strange position of being UK chart-toppers thanks to another artist’s golden touch – let’s face it, it didn’t even sound like them much.

Now it’s finally time to see whether Tjinder Singh and co. can build on their surprising success. They’re back with a new album, ‘Handcream For A Generation’, and they’ve decided to gently dip their toes back in the water with this one-off ‘happening’. Inside the Scala, a host of DJs warm up the crowd by playing an eclectic soundtrack against a backdrop of the band’s favourite films. Outside, tickets are changing hands for upwards of £70, offering further evidence that there really is only one place to be tonight.

When the band appear, the sense of anticipation is matched by one of dread, given the notoriously unpredictable nature of their live performances in the past. But, thankfully, they sound fantastic, even if their stage presence is virtually nil. They acknowledge this by giving the fans something else to look at – a constantly changing set of screens, featuring Bollywood movies, belly dancers and, poignantly, footage of the still-intact World Trade Center during newie ‘Staging The Plaguing of the Raised Platform’.

The band don’t shy away from playing ‘Brimful Of Asha’, but following it up with the searing, nu-metal dissing new single ‘Lessons Learned From Rocky I To Rocky III’ is an inspired move. It’s a timely reminder that while their back catalogue contains many gems, with every new release they up the ante. And finishing with the heavenly 14-minute psychedelic wig-out ‘Spectral Mornings’ offers further proof that [a]Cornershop[/a]

have used their time away well, even if album guest star Noel Gallagher doesn’t turn up to reprise his role.

But then [a]Cornershop[/a]

don’t need anyone’s help anymore.

Alan Woodhouse