TOY - Live At Madame JoJo's, London

TOY promised much and manage to deliver
TOY - Live At Madame JoJo's, London
Since the beginning of the Year, TOY have promised much and have so far managed to deliver their part of the deal, two sublime singles ‘Left Myself Behind’ and ‘Motoring’ are the finest pieces of British guitar music this year and September’s debut album is hands down 2012's best rock album. Through relentless touring in their own right as well as being regular touring partners of The Horrors, TOY are becoming a well-oiled live act. Granted, playing the same fifteen songs all year round would mean that you’d get pretty good at it and even though this must be kind of tedious for the band, they take each song by the neck and shake the f**k out of it with major gusto.

Lead singer Tom Dougall’s hollowed eyed look of disengagement is flanked by lead guitarist Dominic O’Dair and Maxim Barron, the three of them locking into a groove of gloriously noisy shoegaze sounds, all three of them violently head banging and slamming themselves into their guitars as if they’re trying to climb into the sound. Watching the three of them intertwine is just as exciting as the sounds they’re making; O’Dair throws endless fantastic rock god poses under classic shaggy rock star hair and good cheekbones, he’s what a guitarist should look like, Barron on the other side looks like a baby faced version of John Bonham in clothes last seen on Deep Purple, in jeans so damn tight they look spray painted on, for too long now bands on stage have looked like the audience they’re playing to, TOY look and act like they were born to do this shit rather than looking like they work a 9-to-5 shift like The Macabees or whoever.

Live, ‘Colours Burning Out’ and the psychedelic grinding of ‘Dead and Gone’ benefit from the venue’s crummy sound system, the murkiness bringing Alejandra Diez’s ‘Silver Machine’ influenced synth rumbles to the fore giving the songs a brilliant seedy drug sweated sheen, these tracks last for ages and could be extended even further without becoming unwelcome showing off their understanding of the monotonous and the repetitive chord structures of techno.

The aforementioned two singles get the biggest reception and with good reason, the final half of guitar thrashing of ‘Left Myself Behind’ is the most thrilling four minutes of music that has been emitted from these shores for a long time, think ‘French Disko’ by Stereolab remixed by Tame Impala soundtracking a vivid nightmare.

They do soppy stuff too, forthcoming single ‘Lose my Way’ and the gorgeous ‘My Heart Skips a Beat’ are silly love songs which break the intensity of the harder stuff effectively especially with Diez’s hazy synths wrapping their warmth around Barron’s almost Billinda Butcher-esque vocal coos, it shows they can be as dreamy as they like when they chose to be. They finish off with their secret weapon ‘Kopter’, a last chance for the band to thrash as hard as they can on stage, flying hair, feedback, Dougall bashing his guitar on the amp, drum beats louder than gun shots, all brought together by a celebratory synth riff which releases previously unknown levels of joy. It’s an anthem in the mould of ‘Sea within a Sea’ by The Horrors that goes on for ten minutes building up into total dischord. Ten minutes is a long time but as far as these ears are concerned, if this song never ended, it would still not be long enough.

Words and photo by Chris Todd

Click here for a photo gallery of the gig.

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