The Fly53 NME Radar Tour Hits London – Review

NME Radar Tour, Koko, London, 13 October, 2009.

A decadent palace in the sprawls of North London Koko may be, but the States are certainly pressing their star-spangled stamp on the Big Smoke tonight. First up, Boston party-pop boys Yes Giantess impress, grabbing radio-friendly tunes and drenching them in 80s synths. Stepping up as first on the bill is no mean feat, but judging from their reception tonight it’s surely only a matter of moments before they get flicked from relative obscurity into the mainstream.

A road trip to the West Coast then as LA’s Local Natives follow up; for the most part folksy and choral on record, tonight their intricacy weaves a different thread: they got strobes, they got two drummers and they got a 5-minute knuckle-down outro. ‘Airplanes’ is the keystone to the set, however, delicately pulsing to a crescendo over its yearning lyrics.

Abergavenny’s Marina And The Diamonds bring us closer to home, with Marina somehow appearing simultaneously imposing and vulnerable, a lioness prowling the stage and then lamenting her fella’s coldness (indeed, ‘I Am Not A Robot’ gets one of the biggest cheers of the night). From ethereal disco stomp ‘Mowgli’s Road’ to the now set-staple Late Of The Pier cover ‘Space And The Woods’, it’s like she’s caught Regina Spektor’s note-perfect vocals, bottled them up and spiked them with attitude.

But it’s all about the homegrown talent tonight. Golden Silvers, tonight a fourpiece, have really mastered the craft of writing the perfect pop song, a talent most gloriously showcased in ‘Magic Touch’ and ‘Arrows of Eros’ which bookend the set. Whilst lyrically gorgeous, here all the crowd are concerned with is the dancing, and for all the Greek mythology embedded in their doo-wop shuffle, there’s no sneering at ‘True No.9 Blues’ which, however simple, with its Casio-prodding backdrop and knee-jerk 90s vocal delivery, is relentlessly infectious.

A stutteringly paranoid ‘The Shakes’, submerged in ebbing walls of sound, gives way to the communal ‘Another Universe’, drifting dreamily through tales of girls with “one hand on the golden horn and one hand on the telephone”, only rivaled in the singalong stakes by anthemic ‘Please Venus’.

And so as the Sirens are coaxed out of the synths, and Venus lays her head down low, it’s pretty clear Golden Silvers don’t need Eros’ arrows to make the crowd go weak at the knees.