What is a band to do? A significant chunk of your audience looks like a flash mob of culture critics (Okay,you explain away a bloke with a 12th century monk’s haircut; a group of asymmetrically attired 30-something ladies, and a gnome-like old ‘un so hairy and trampish-looking, he can only be an art historian from a bookish blue-blooded clan tracing its lineage back to Edward the Black Prince ?). And most of them are cowering a wary eight feet away from the stage ?

Option A : Recruit celebrated concept art siblings Jake and Dinos Chapman to sell signed copies of their ‘iconic’ vandalised Goya drawings at the merch stall and be done with it.

Option B : Give up, chuck your stuff in the van and get the hell out of here.

Option C : Rock like you’ve just been asked to join AC/DC.

Luckily for the rest of us, XX Teens are always up for a challenge. And it’s handy they’re all dressed like Michael Douglas in ‘Falling Down’ because watching them turns out to be one big blast.

No one blazes with dangerous anger as fiercely as a mid-level corporate drone, emasculated by a stalled career, duplicitous, self-serving management and the powerlesssness that comes from sitting, dead-eyed, in gridlocked commuter traffic every working day of his life. In their dishevelled office gear and rolled-upshirt sleeves, XX Teens rage like Douglas/D-Fens the day he turned his back on the office world for good and got his own back on just about everyone, through the crosshairs of some hijacked street gang armoury.

They’re all about feral dance rock, studded with Devo-style yelps, power chords and Art Brutish spokenword mania, and fired into the skull via breakbeat drums and relentless Peter Hook basslines. The band commence proceedings in the manner of ranting performance poets, baying their dissatisfaction to a punk-funk civil war in the background. In the time it's taken you to think, "Ace! You can actually move to them, too", the set had melted down into primal,riff-driven, megalomania. It doesn’t take all that long to reach the revelation that this is what dance rock‘saviours’ Kasabian would be if they binned their crowd-pleasing pseudo political posturing for something genuinely intense.

There’s just enough to keep the art types' attention: barked-through-a-megaphone vocals, cute female dancers doing cheerleader stuff in white painter/decorator boiler suits; stubborn refusal to acknowledge the crowd in any way.But really, tonight is for the rest of the crowd, the ones who can’t write theses on applied aesthetics and who prefer to spend their out of work hours getting wasted and dancing. The band don’t have to say it, but this one... and this one... and this one, are all going out to those of us thinking sheepishly about how we all feel rebellious and defiant now - but how we’ll be slinking obediently back behind our PCs in the morning. Appreciate the thought, boys.











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Commenting On: ICA, London, 29/5/2008 - XX Teens








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