KOKO, London, Thursday, February 18
It’s nice to be back,” grins Craig Wellington, as he surveys the sea of giddy fans at high tide jostling for unattainable space. Yet, smiles or not, [a]The Sunshine Underground[/a] owe us a performance tonight. Being a fan of the band has proven to be quite the waiting game considering it’s been three and a half years since their last album. Time may well be a great healer when mourning your dead labrador, but our oh-so-fickle music industry is an entirely different animal. The thin line between the barnstorming debut and ‘difficult’ second can be a tightrope made of spaghetti for many bands, as reputations can be forgotten quicker than a pot-head’s shopping list. Luckily for TSU though, the shaky basslines and seductive electronic beats of [b]‘Raise The Alarm’[/b] seem to have lasted the test of time and the new tunes from the just-released [b]‘Nobody’s Coming To Save You’[/b] are going down well too; their army of supporters chant along to opener [b]‘Coming To Save You’[/b] and irrepressibly catchy new single [b]‘We’ve Always Been Your Friends’[/b].
Earlier, post-punkers [a]Wild Palms[/a] do their best to inspire a crowd of people tapping away at their mobiles, rousing a wholly different, steelier and sterner atmosphere that suggests they’d get on rather well with fellow Awards Show-ers These New Puritans. [a]Cosmo Jarvis[/a], on the other hand, woos the crowd with his gravel-gargling huskiness and hook-heavy ditties, sounding like a Mike Skinner and Billy Bragg side-project.
But it’s TSU’s angular anthems of old that incite the most hysteria on and offstage – [b]‘Commercial Breakdown’[/b] sees Craig pogoing around the stage and not even a slow, stripped-down version of [b]‘Borders’[/b] can calm the vigour of the chaotic crowd. The night reaches its apex with closer [b]‘Put You In Your Place’[/b], as an extended intro drops into electric splendour, sparking a neverending production line of crowdsurfers. Oh, we’ve missed you, TSU.