Live review: Detroit Social Club/Goldhawks/Young Rebel Set

Cargo, London, Thursday, February 18

What would Alex Turner make of the shivering spectators huddling in the caverns of Cargo tonight to watch [a]Detroit Social Club[/a]?

A random question, you might think, but one can only imagine the ire a man who made his name spitting bile at pseudo-Americans swaggering around provincial towns with their ‘Fake Tales Of San Francisco’ might have for these northern rockers bearing no lineage to the Motor City. Despite their midwestern moniker, the only way this lot could be trumped in the Geordie stakes is if, now that [a]Cheryl Cole[/a]’s finally given Ashley the boot, she eloped with Paul Gascoigne to produce her own five-a-side football team.

NME ponders this conundrum as [a]Young Rebel Set[/a] try to warm up the audience with their ramshackle folk-punk, closely followed by the shimmering guitar pop of [a]Goldhawks[/a]. Both succeed in nudging the mercury up a few notches – Goldhawks, in particular, are so FM-friendly that their twinkling melodies could be distilled and sold to Steve Wright as Viagra – but it’s left to Detroit Social Club to really set the night ablaze. Opening track ‘Kiss The Sun’ is a maelstrom of thundering drums and sleazy guitars, capable of making you fly higher than Icarus while frazzling your brain in the process. Frontman Dave Burn pirouettes around the stage, fists clenched and arms aloft, conducting the pounding terrace-style refrains of ‘Prophecy’ and ‘Forever Wonderland’ which seem destined for giant stadiums and drunken singalongs.

Yet as huge as these rabble-rousing choruses are, it’s the dark, dirty undercurrent to Detroit Social Club that makes them so incendiary. ‘Silver’ is a warped psychedelic brew of voodoo chanting and twisted riffs, while ‘Mind At War’ is a filthy blues-rock beast reminiscent of [a]Primal Scream[/a]. “For the people that have labelled us just another lad-rock band, I hoped we’ve proved we cut a little deeper than that,” says Burns before launching into the colossal crescendo of ‘Sunshine People’. On this form, it’s hard to argue; even Alex Turner would have difficulty disagreeing with that.

Ben Hewitt