There’s a time and a place for starting your live set with a psychedelic arm-swirl that samples a song mostly famous for being used in a Marmite advert in the ’90s. And half-an-hour before midnight on New Year’s Eve in front of a joyously Ledgered KOKO (Ledgered: adj, to have consumed so many dance-aiding substances that one smiles continuously so as to resemble the late Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, mouth similarly scarred by repeated chewing) is definitely the time and the place.
This might well be because the crowd at the Club NME New Year’s Eve Ball is already so inflated by good spirits and Pete & The Pirates’ superb support slot they’d dance to the sound of a tumble drier plugged into an amp, so long as it was draped in a ‘Happy 2009!’ sash. But there’s no denying the song, sampling War’s ‘Low Rider’ to cheek-tearing effect, is a light-blast opener to not only the last, but one of the best parties of the year.
Tonight is not for HEALTH remixes and Fuck Buttons. It’s a night to ingest anthems while kissing strangers and drinking beer you don’t particularly like – and despite having just the one Makers album under his belt so far, in the likes of ‘He Said He Loved Me’ and ‘Open Your Window’ Jon McClure has more than enough anthems to ensure dancefloor saliva cocktails are being mixed as the countdown approaches. He fires 20 minutes’ worth of them out before halting for the countdown. Then arms go up, tongues link and we’re in 2009 – ‘Heavyweight Champion Of The World’’s anthemic status becoming instantly assured at one minute past, with its air-raid synth garnering bellows of recognition as far back as the cloakroom.
Of course, McClure is never one to phone in a performance – he steals NME snapper Rich’s camera and takes his own shots of the crowd making peace signs, bigs up Lily Allen for being “the only other person apart from me to say anything important about the world since 9/11” and invites his Mongrel bandmate Lowkey onstage for an impromptu rap. Lowkey waves a ‘Freedom For Palestine’ placard – admirable, especially at 12.20am on January 1 – and then the troupe traipse backstage for more New Year’s naughtiness. Ledge-ends, the lot of ’em.