Looking like Alexis from Hot Chip fed on creatine and joy, Day-Glo spectacled Sam Sparro is pumping the air with his bulging arms, shaking his butt for all he’s worth and singing – altogether now – “’Cos if you’re not really here, then I don’t want to be either/I wanna be next to you, black and gold!” What a song: a smooth disco track to transport even the dirtiest of indie kids suddenly into a fantasy world of riding horses bareback on the beach at sunset. At its pulsating climax tonight, in the incongruous setting of the concentration camp-y Proud Galleries, black and gold tickertape falls from the ceiling and souls are collectively cleansed. Certainly, loveable Sam is quite a showman, charming the audience with some cheeky intros – “This is about those people you can never get rid of. It’s called ‘Sticky Bitches’.” Bravo to that, and to ‘21st Century Life’ and ‘Hot Mess’, which are like Stevie Wonder cloaking himself in a Technicolor dreamcoat.
At the halfway point, though, the set slumps beneath the weight of its own guilty pleasures. Great soul-disco-funk (say Hall & Oates’ ‘Maneater’) is brilliant, but average soul-disco-funk grates on your brain so much that if you only had a biscuit to hand, you’d try to slash your own throat with it.
Luckily, before custard cream-based suicide occurs, ‘Black And Gold’ arrives, all troubles are understood and forgiven and this disco Jesus takes us to that beach and that naked horse.