My haven’t they grown? Last time we checked, The Rapture were a bunch of upstart punk-funkers blowing sax holes in our heads with ‘House Of Jealous Lovers’, DFA dancefloor darlings that had the zeitgeist tied down tight for a good humping.
Times have since changed, and while of course there’s plenty of angular and abrasive chord ‘n brass interplay still, it’s a pretty different band keeping us in rapturous throes nowadays. So much so that the highlight of the entire evening tonight is probably slow burn anthem (and current 6 Music favourite) ‘Sail Away’, and when they open boldly and beautifully with one of their most BPM-deprived newies ‘In The Grace Of Your Love’ we don’t bat an eyelid.
It’s actually pretty nice to slow it all down and examine the Rapture DNA a bit more carefully, away from the madding crowds and euphoric rush of their performances from the mid-noughties, and Rowans Bowling Alley in Finsbury Park’s glamorous bus terminal on a rainy Monday is the perfect time and place to do so. The upstairs lanes have a foyer so tiny only a lucky handful can fit in, and half the space is reserved for the kind of camera cranes, tech equipment and people with headsets usually only the preserve of the BBC because Noisey, Vice’s video and live music partner, are recording the whole thing for a live stream (which was viewable in real time on NME.COM).
So we get to see Luke Jenner’s intricate yet effortless fretwork close up, and feel both his inimitable voice and irrepressible enthusiam shoot us through the chest at close range. I disagreed with Hamish’s stern review for the last album, so the likes of ‘Never Die Again’ and relaxed rave-up ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ were novel treats. And of course ‘Whoo! Alright, Yeah… Uh Huh’ did the frenetic honours, ensuring those few gathered trod new bare patches into the venue’s shabby carpets.
This being a Noisey gig, there was a fair amount of fan interaction, so we had an encore chosen by the people and one lucky punter brought up to play cowbell on ‘…Jealous Lovers’. We say lucky, the poor thing looked terrified as she walloped the bell out of time and sporadically with all the rhythm and grace of Angela Merkel. Still, with bass lines that threatened to knock the bowling balls from their perch, a free flow of free booze and a band clearly still loving being in the game, it was one hell of a gig.