The Rapture: Shockwaves NME Awards Show, Astoria, London; Wednesday February 28

The Rapture: Shockwaves NME Awards Show, Astoria, London; Wednesday February 28

The godfathers of everything are in a party mood. More cowbell, vicar?

Godfathers of new rave?” choked The Rapture when charged post-gig by NME with kickstarting the most controversial scene since the climax of Jerry Springer: The Opera. “We’re the Godfathers of everything!”

It’s certainly looking that way from the varied offerings on the Shockwaves NME Awards’ alternative indie rave line-up. Supporting New York’s trendsetters are Glassjaw offshoot Men, Women & Children, whose emo-disco cabaret comes on like Village People rubbing up to Fugazi in the gents, sleek LA synth terrors Shiny Toy Guns and Glasgow’s Shitdisco. The latter are the only ‘new rave’ band on offer though, rattling through forthcoming album ‘Kingdom Of Fear’ with unexpected professionalism and even the breakdown from RATM’s ‘Killing In The Name’ out of nowhere. ‘Disco Blood’ notches the anticipation up to 11 and out step The Rapture.

Purveyors of cowbell-driven indie disco since the turn of the century, these boys live or die according to the mood they’re in. The early years saw them sloppy and raw, while their last UK visit found them buttoned-up and listless, coming dangerously close to confirming suspicions that the Danger Mouse-assisted ‘Pieces Of The People We Love’ was so ice-cool it had no heartbeat.

Tonight, though, they’ve hit the holy middle ground between edgy and professional and are on fire. Ripping through everything from early anthem ‘House Of Jealous Lovers’ to recent rock remixer fave ‘Get Myself Into It’ they’re a finely tuned party machine. With the cowbells, the sax-parps and the funky dancing they bring the rave for sure, but it’s laced with soul, and as the songs bleed together in one big reason to dance, the crowd find themselves spoken to in more profound ways. The band are treating the whole thing as a massive jolly. As finale ‘Olio’’s spidery funk morphs into a raging powerhouse, Luke Jenner, dance commander, dives into the crowd. He’s pulled out. He dives in again. He’s pulled out again. And

then a third time.

Godfathers of whatever; The Rapture are having too much fun to surrender to any hip young gunslingers for a good while yet.

Dan Martin