The Lexington, London, 19 January 2015
Strutting out in navy blue (keyboardist Tyler Parkford), white (drummer and sometime guitarist Michael Shuman) and floral patterned (bassist Zach Dawes) suits, Mini Mansions emanate razor sharp cool. The trio’s look is elegant and fun, but toughness lingers beneath. The same is true of both tonight’s performance and the Los Angeles trio’s buoyant but hard-edged take on radio-friendly synth-pop.
After opening with a cover of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ by Sparks and old track ‘Monk’, the focus is firmly on the lingering eeriness of forthcoming second album ‘The Great Pretenders’, encapsulated in the languid, melancholy ‘Creeps’. The powerful rhythm of ‘Honey, I’m Home’ adds tension and ferocity before looping into ‘Mirror Mountain’, during which Parkford’s emphatic flashes of synth and Dawes’ fierce bass work – for a moment, he plays it with his bared teeth – stun the sold out crowd.
A frosty, experimental cover of Blondie’s ‘Heart Of Glass’ interrupts the new material. Most would consider it an untouchable classic, but the trio’s glistening and relaxed take is soself-assured it could almost pass for one of their own tunes. ‘Death Is A Girl’, on the other hand, finds Shuman – who plays bass in Queens Of The Stone Age – alternating between gracefully knocking out beats on his upright drumkit and hammering out its wild riff on his Fender.
The funky ‘Vertigo’ brings a surprise appearance from one Alex Turner, bowling out of the darkness midway through in skintight jeans and a denim jacket and striding centre stage. Unwinding the mic lead from its stand, he croons the verse he recorded for ‘The Great Pretenders’, slinking around in front of the band and grabbing at fans’ hands as he goes. He disappears as quickly as he emerged, but it’s a thrilling touch on an evening full of highlights. Tonight, at their first London show in four years, MiniMansions emerge as a band to hold dear.