Asobi Seksu – Shepherds Bush Empire 21/11/08

Asobi Seksu

In a support role for Ladytron, Asobi Seksu showed that, still, they have incredible power. It’s easy to forget that they are a potent live act, what with their seeming inability to settle on a distinct line-up, but they show in abundance this evening why they really should be considered so. With their amps and stands decked out with yellow and blue fairy lights, the stage resembles that of Pavement’s farewell tour, and is a suitably beautiful accompaniment to the band’s new and old material.

That new material features equally as much as old, but slots neatly in. It is markedly more dense in construction rather than delivery, and somehow thinner in approach. The result is less choruses, but even more intrigue. It’s difficult not to be drawn in by Yuki Chikudate’s involving Japanese words (though no-one understands them… why is that always the way with foreign-language lyrics?), but without the sheer sonic bravado of the music behind them they wouldn’t be half as charming. James Hanna and the assembled band (the bassist of which PM once had a dreadful awkward silence with, another tale for another day…) are thunderous throughout, with Hanna in particular showing deft skill on the guitar. The likes of Gliss and Me & Mary are this new, perplexing and evocative Asobi Seksu personified – rest safe in the knowledge that the new record delivers on this promise.

The old material, though, is the purest incarnation of the band tonight. That’s not to say that the new stuff is any way forced or difficult, just that established tunes can’t help but sound more welcome if they’re delivered so brilliantly as this. Strawberries and Thursday are the purest pummels, so minutely and crisply are they given. The key to the band’s digestible fury is that they are essentially popular melodies driven to their absolute volumatic levels – every ounce of power is pushed out through each and every note, with equal regard for beauty and violence. This is a key to great pop performance, and tonight’s lasting impression.

Visit the band at their MySpace.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Asobi Seksu – Shepherds Bush Empire 21/11/08

  1. Warwick

    Lets have that bassist story, yeah?

  2. popmusicology

    hmm, not much of a story really, but when i interviewed the band last year (i think) i was trying to introduce myself to the drummer and bassist, just to be friendly cos they weren’t really involved in the interview, and i said “i don’t think we’ve met…” to the bassist, and he just went “no.” and we were silent for more than several seconds. bit awkward.

    the whole interview (minus embarassment) is here:

    http://drownedinsound.com/in_depth/2537299

    i’m really glad now that they didn’t let on anything about the new record. it’s ace, not really what anyone might expect.

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