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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:20 am 
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<p align=center>The Klaxons DJ gig - 18/11/2011.

Whibblewhibblewhibble, squawksquawk, screechscreech, whoopwhoopwhoop, kerboing, twangtwang

by Nick the Bookman
</p>
Reading HK Magazine earlier this month, I saw a notice that half of the Klaxons were coming to HK for a rare DJ gig. At Fly, just down the road from the FCC and the Fringe Club. I thought I fancy a bit of that and promptly yippie ki-hied my way to Fly to see if I could reserve a place. Eventually met Chester, the amiable General Manager, who sorted everything out for me, no fuss, no bother. I'm on the guest list. Many thanks indeed Chester and by the way, that's a magnificent moustache you have! I left him a couple of my Nixmixes to enjoy (hope they amused you) and said I'll see you on the 18th.

Now, I hadn't paid much attention to The Klaxons. I know they won a Mercury Prize a few years ago for their debut release, Myths of the Near Future. I bought the 2nd release, Surfing The Void, and have been playing it as an introduction and run up to the gig on 18/11/2011. I'm not completely captivated by it, but I think it's a slow burning grower. I like the acoustic version of Echoes on the bonus disc. My wife, Lena, is a fan of Sorcerer City on the same disc. As for the main CD, the final track Cypherspeed stands out. Especially the near a capello last 40 seconds. It's a heavy slightly progpunkrockfreakbeat number with lyrics that Muse could probably have written. For some strange and inexplicable reason I keep thinking of prime Soft Machine - minus the intense skrawking saxaphones. The song titles are reminiscent of most of Blue Oyster Cult's back catalogue. Some of the tunes just need a little bit more of a hook or melody to capture and entrance. Listen to BOC's live double album On Your Feet Or On Your Knees for example. But, no dissing. There's enough on the release to tell me that this will be a good gig.

It's about 2245 and I've rocked up to Fly. There's a crowd comprising some young French fans and some tuxedo clad gentlemen. All being processed smoothly and efficiently into the club by Chester's lovely girlfriend Elizabeth. I tell her I hope I'm on the guest list. She checks, smiles assent, shows me where to get chopped for entry and I'm inside. It's dark, mostly blue light with what looks like electronic lego squares pulsing across three screens behind the DJ booth. Some tables are reserved. People are drinking champagne, delivered in large bottles with fizzing sparklers attached to the bottle necks. There's a distinct buzz of anticipation. DJ Eve is laying down an interesting mix of beats and tunes ranging from rap to sort of prog house on two CD decks and a laptop. Not bad at all, if a little muffled from where I'm sitting. The speakers above me are wafting out great blasts of warm vibrating air. I've got a prime spot about 8 feet from the DJ booth, but not for long as the crowd increases. Chester comes by looking busy, but not unhurried and flustered and say's he's glad to see me. I reply with many thanks and say I've got all I need. We'll try and have a drink and chat later. And he's off on his peripatetic patrol to ensure the vibes stay groovy cool. Everyone is super friendly and easy going. A quick mention to Freddie and Frank who ask for a photo with The Beard? No problem. I meet Chester's friends Leo and Julian who have reserved the table where I'm sitting. Both gregarious and friendly. Help yourself to drinks on the table Nick. No worries. Alas, I'm on a course of antibiotics, so no grog-induced antics tonight. But I take the thought for the deed and my thanks are are well received.

It's about 0020 and a commotion has drawn my eye. No rumble. It's just James Righton and Jaime Reynolds getting ready to start their show. A little earlier than expected. Chester told me he thought they'd come on about 0100, but early is good. The big wall poster outside Fly says the audience should "brace yourself for a wild night with these party rockers". James and Jamie (whose name is misspelled Jaime on the poster) are described as "acidrave sci-fi punkfunk rockers". James plays keyboards and sings in The Klaxons. Jamie is the bassist and also contributes vocals to the quartet. Tonight's DJ gig is just a side-trip for the fun of it all. And possibly making contacts for a future concert by The Klaxons? Here's hoping.

In a nutshell, the boys deliver a steaming set which mashes up all the genres as advertised on the poster. Lots of gnarly, grimy electro bass lines. Stuttering drums that rise and fall. Lots of old 303 synth sounds going whibblewhibblewhibble, squawksquawk, screechscreech, whoopwhoopwhoop kerboing, twangtwang etc. Rising and falling through electronic cadences. Not quite as much sampled theremin as I'd hoped for. To cover the sci-fi part of the show. But I'm not moaning. Some of the tunes remind me of Richard Scanty's breaks when he opened for Fatboy Slim about a decade ago. Other times it's like sleazy electro-clash of the mid-noughties. The acidrave stuff is just shy of anthemic, but the "E" peaks can be imagined through the maelstrom of music. Some of the tunes are played out a couple of times and then it's Bang! Crash! and the drums kick back into overdrive. I'm sad to say I didn't recognise a single tune that was played, but it was no loss. Jamie and James are obviously having a hell of a time teasing the crowd with tension and release. Jamie's uncorking some megawatt grins at the frankly adoring female fans in front of the booth. And nicking puffs of their cigarettes. James has done most of the work tonight. About 65% of the gig, I reckon. It's not totally seamless, but so fucking what. I'm reminded of a story by Miles Davis when one of his many bands was preparing to record a live show. Miles said he didn't care about mistakes (although he liked them, because that was when the real spontaneity of improvisation occurred), but he wanted the band to play with passion! Jamie and James are following that Miles Davis axiom with heartfelt intensity. They're loving the gig. All the fans are loving the gig. Eve is standing behind the guys at the back of the booth. So are about 8 other people. All loving the gig.

The boys have played for about 2 hours. Eve gets back on the decks and takes the vibes up a notch while Jamie and James meet and greet the fans. I manage to speak to them both separately. Give them a copy of Nixmix 14 which I'm pretty sure they're going to like. I gave away a copy of Nixmix 21 to a lovely little lady called Lizzie who would like to buy me a drink the next time we meet. I wonder what she thought of it. Hopefully good things. Anyway, Jamie tells me I should have got the first release over the second. That's the one which won the Mercury Prize. They've since put out an EP and are getting ready to start the process of thinking about getting together to start the process of getting ready to record a new release. The HK gig was the third stop of a short Asian tour. Singapore on the 16th. Bangkok on the 17th. Into HK on the 18th and an early start to Shanghai for a final show on the 19th. As I get ready to leave Fly, Eve puts on "Just Can't Get Enough" by Depeche Mode. The only song/tune I recognise all night. Can't find Chester anywhere to say thanks...

Outside, it's drizzling and I have a quick chat with James. He;'s blown away by HK. Wants to return for a short holiday with his girlfriend. I tell him he should come and hang out on Lamma. It's got all he needs. Good food, good walks and interesting conversationalists. We fall into a discussion of Surfing The Void and he says it was partly inspired by The Canterbury Scene of the late Sixties/early Seventies. He mentions Kevin Ayers, the mighty (and still performing) Caravan and...Soft Machine. (That's the inexplicable reason explained!). James tells me he once saw Robert Wyatt (the drummer in Soft Machine) in the street and although it's not something he usually does, he went over to the wheelchair-bound Mr. Wyatt and simply said "Thanks". Basically, thank you for existing. Thank you for the music with Soft Machine. With Matching Mole. For writing "Shipbuilding". For being an inspiration. It almost gets a little teary for me, pondering the immense probabilities of the simple word "Thanks". Jamie exits the club to find James chatting in impeccable Spanish to dos sexy senoritas who more or less want to have his babies!. Fernando, a worker at Fly, asks if the guys will pose in front of the poster. No problemo. They reproduce the pose on the poster. Jamie isn't at all bothered that his name is misspelt. He hadn't even noticed. The rain is getting harder. We shake hands. Hopefully, we'll keep in touch. They get a cab back to their hotel to get ready for an early flight to Shanghai. I boogie back to Pier 4 to await the 0630 ferry home. In closing, once again it's thanks to Chester and Elizabeth for organising a splendid night and letting me loose to write about it. Hope we can recreate the magic for the Fischerspooner DJ set on 26/11/2011. I'm already looking forward to it. (A non-alcoholic) cheers from me. ntb.

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