Live reviews: The Sunshine Underground/Cosmo Jarvis/Wild Palms

KOKO, London, Thursday, February 18

It’s nice to be back,” grins Craig Wellington, as he surveys the sea of giddy fans at high tide jostling for unattainable space. Yet, smiles or not, [a]The Sunshine Underground[/a] owe us a performance tonight. Being a fan of the band has proven to be quite the waiting game considering it’s been three and a half years since their last album. Time may well be a great healer when mourning your dead labrador, but our oh-so-fickle music industry is an entirely different animal. The thin line between the barnstorming debut and ‘difficult’ second can be a tightrope made of spaghetti for many bands, as reputations can be forgotten quicker than a pot-head’s shopping list. Luckily for TSU though, the shaky basslines and seductive electronic beats of ‘Raise The Alarm’ seem to have lasted the test of time and the new tunes from the just-released ‘Nobody’s Coming To Save You’ are going down well too; their army of supporters chant along to opener ‘Coming To Save You’ and irrepressibly catchy new single ‘We’ve Always Been Your Friends’.

Earlier, post-punkers [a]Wild Palms[/a] do their best to inspire a crowd of people tapping away at their mobiles, rousing a wholly different, steelier and sterner atmosphere that suggests they’d get on rather well with fellow Awards Show-ers These New Puritans. [a]Cosmo Jarvis[/a], on the other hand, woos the crowd with his gravel-gargling huskiness and hook-heavy ditties, sounding like a Mike Skinner and Billy Bragg side-project.

But it’s TSU’s angular anthems of old that incite the most hysteria on and offstage – ‘Commercial Breakdown’ sees Craig pogoing around the stage and not even a slow, stripped-down version of ‘Borders’ can calm the vigour of the chaotic crowd. The night reaches its apex with closer ‘Put You In Your Place’, as an extended intro drops into electric splendour, sparking a neverending production line of crowdsurfers. Oh, we’ve missed you, TSU.

Sam Rowe