Live review: Simian Mobile Disco/Green Velvet/Joker

Matter, London, Saturday, February 20

Dan Dennison
Pic: Dan Dennison
Saturday night at Matter is not for the faint-hearted – we’re jammed in so tightly we feel a wave of existential angst as individual identity succumbs to the amorphous mass bulging at the venue’s brushed steel seams. Exacerbating this is Bristolian bass-botherer Joker, his sudden segue from serated dubstep into Dead Prez’s ‘Hip Hop’ makes the already crowded dancefloor a gauntlet of white boys throwing gang signs.

The main room hosts more pleasant sights, as Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford and Jas Shaw, dressed in we’re-all-about-the-music black shirts and flanked by vintage equipment, slam into the pile-driving synths of ‘Sleep Deprivation’ showing levels of enthusiasm for pulling a cable out of one place in the modular synthesizer and putting it in another that is quite frankly unhealthy in well-developed adult males. Pleasingly, the newer material is fleshed out in a club environment, the prolonged gratification of ‘Audacity Of Huge’ and ‘10,000 Horses Can’t Be Wrong’ make up what they lack in emotional substance with an ability for getting people to shove their hands skyward and sing along to bleeping noises. SMD respond by teasing out the breakdown of ‘The Hustler’ before an encore of ‘Cruel Intentions’ devolves into a maelstrom of deafening synth squiggles which is fun, but also like reliving all your clubbing epiphanies in one go, giving you one big is-it-or-isn’t-it-a-heart-attack? moment.

It falls to Green Velvet – techno’s favourite Christian – to sustain these unfeasible levels
of energy, his set of grizzly techno and frazzled electro climaxing with him picking up the mic
to sing his hit ‘La La Land’. The wry delivery only encourages us to hang on to the moment
a bit longer before our serotonin levels gurgle dry and we head shamefaced back to the normality of cloakrooms and taxi ranks. Temporary pleasures they may be, but if tonight proves anything it’s that they’re the sweetest kind.

Louise Brailey
Simian Mobile Disco - 'Cruel Intentions'
Video: Simian Mobile Disco - 'Cruel Intentions'

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