VHS Or Beta : Camden Barfly, Friday May 21

Our rating:

Kentucky funkers get Londoners moving… eventually

“In this country,” asks Craig Pfunder, VHS Or Beta’s crestfallen singer-guitarist, “do people dance at shows?” He and his band of Louisville slam-funkers are only two songs into their set, yet their goth dance beats have yet to elicit the kind of reaction they had hoped from tonight’s onlookers.

It is, after all, 1.30am on Saturday, at north London’s indie citadel, the Barfly. But with little stimulus beyond warm lager and passive hairspray inhalation, you’re more likely to see Robert Smith bodylocking down Fabric than sophisticated footwork from tonight’s crowd.

Still, VHS Or Beta soldier on, with the honest showmanship that belies their feathercuts and synth lines. Hands are raised and shuffles become steps until a reasonable amount of rug is cut. ‘The Ocean’ comes on like Echo & The Bunnymen’s ‘Killing Moon’ rising over Miami, ‘No Cabaret’ pulses like Michael Bloomberg on E, and ‘Nightwaves’ parties like Daft Punk in Marc Bolan’s dressing up box. VHS Or Beta are transcendent, and by their last song, even the drunkest of the indie kids are vogueing. Tonight, against all odds, the video stars killed the radioheads. Alex Rayner