Spinnerette, Future Of the Left, The Chapman Family

It's their fourth ever gig, what did we expect? Islington Academy, London, Monday, February 23

Brody, Brody, Brody. Tonight, we almost have it all. “This song’s about murdering children,” says The Chapman Family’s frontman, Kingsley. ‘Like A Million Dollars’ is a septic, epic, sullen funk-shuffle of drenched beatific feedback and meat-rack riff-raff which casts a none-too-subtle observation on the media scrum surrounding a certain Portuguese seaside tragedy from two years ago. Essentially, it’s ‘The Ballad Of Maddie McCann’ written by Robert Smith on very bad speed. It proves why The Chapman Family are just about the only interesting new band outside of London at the moment. You should really be listening to their stuff because it’s rare to find a band who enjoy destroying, like, everything onstage but who do it with such obvious, subversive pop capabilities.

You want pop, yeah? Just listen to the chorus of ‘The Kids Are Not Alright’ and tell us it isn’t The Clash on Dexedrine with the feedback and Voxs turned up to 11, the zits squeezed, the pills popped, and the… well, the newspapers read, analysed and binned too. That’s the line, and The Chapmans are on the other side, pointing right at you, but not caring one bit whether you’re looking to join them or not.

Speaking of which, has there ever been a Future Of The Left gig where Andy ‘Falco’ Falkous and Kelson Mathias don’t walk the tightrope, stand at the edge, light the cord and then watch it burn to cinders? Doubt it. Tonight, they go down terribly with the crowd. Why? The audience shouts abuse; Falco responds with an exquisite anecdote about wanking, of all things. But, alas, he still loses the punters. Never mind. We still get a handful of new songs which sound either brittle (think: Panzer Division guitars and overdriven keyboards) or pure Mclusky (YES!!). It’s well worth bearing the crowd’s dissatisfaction for.

So why is it that Spinnerette are so underwhelming then? Tonight’s their first UK gig – fourth ever – but it just doesn’t seem to be clicking. There’s undoubtedly a semi-iconic frontwoman inside Brody Dalle, but apart from the likes of the sublime ‘Distorting A Code’ these new songs just don’t do her bitchy brutality justice. No amount of floor-writhing and shag-boasting (“This one’s about fucking your man,” Dalle says before ‘Sex Bomb’) can remedy the fact that they sound limp tonight.There’s no bite, no venom and generally nothing much to shout about. Oh dear. Back to the… distillery, perhaps?

Matt Wilkinson